New Ipsos Poll Shows Americans Are Frustrated with Abusive Insurance Practices That Exacerbate Access and Affordability Challenges

Americans prioritize Congress tackling health care coverage and what they pay out of pocket

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 1, 2022) – Americans overwhelmingly say they are frustrated with health insurance coverage that is difficult to navigate and unaffordable. According to a new Ipsos/PhRMA poll, nearly 9 out of 10 Americans (86%) agree that Congress should focus on cracking down on abusive health insurance practices that make it harder for people to get the care they need. The sentiment is shared widely among both Democrats (92%) and Republicans (84%). Voters overwhelmingly support policies that would lower out-of-pocket costs and bring greater transparency and accountability to the health insurance system.

“It’s time to bring the patient perspective to the health care reform debate and focus on immediate solutions that Americans value the most,” said Debra DeShong, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs. “That includes making sure insurers provide more dependable health coverage that helps patients get the care they need and lowers out-of-pocket costs for medicines. We are ready to do our part, and we remain committed to working with policymakers to improve our health care system.”

Voters Want Congress to Address Health Insurance

According to the the Ipsos/PhRMA poll, Americans would like to see Congress focus more on reducing the overall costs of health care coverage such as premiums, deductible, and copays (71%) over reducing the costs of prescription drugs (29%). This extends across party lines; 73% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans would like to see Congress focus on reducing overall costs of coverage.

Insurer-Imposed Barriers, Costs And A Lack of Clarity Pose Access Hurdles For Many Americans 

  • In the past year, 43% of people who take prescription medications have themselves or their families faced at least one insurance barrier to their care. These experiences range from waiting for an insurer to approve a medicine their doctor prescribed (prior authorization) to the insurer requiring a patient to try a different medicine (fail first), or not covering a doctor-prescribed medicine at all (formulary restriction). This is in the context of 89% who say taking their medicines helps them stay healthy.
  • More than two in five (43%) Americans report that they had a difficult time understanding or navigating their health insurance.
  • Another one in three (31%) avoid going to the doctor because of the cost, and 21% say that they can’t afford go to the doctor if they need care.

Abusive Insurance Practices Are Deeply Concerning to Voters; They Want Insurers Held Accountable

  • Decisive majorities agree that the public should know about health insurance companies that have a record of disproportionately denying claims to a group of people, or patients with a particular disease (83%).
  • 77% of voters agree that health insurers should have to publicly disclose how often they deny doctor-recommended care, and 74% of voters believe health insurers should be required to share the savings they negotiate.
  • People with insurance are more likely to agree with these statements than those who are uninsured or don’t know their insurance status.

Voters Prioritize Legislation that Tackles Insurance Costs and Barriers

  • 82% agree that lowering out-of-pocket costs for health care should be a top priority for Washington.
  • When forced to prioritize only two policies, Americans see the most positive impact coming from policies that place a cap on the amount health insurers can make patients pay for their deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket costs (33%), giving insurers more incentives to keep the costs of health plans manageable for people who are sick and taking prescription medication (17%), and requiring health insurance companies to be more transparent about what medicines are covered and what patients will pay out of pocket for prescription medicines (16%).

The survey reinforces support for PhRMA’s patient centered agenda and commonsense solutions that would make the health care system more affordable.

The poll was conducted among 2,510 American adults using Ipsos’ gold-standard probability-based KnowledgePanel® representative of the American public. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

For more details on the Ipsos/PhRMA poll click here.

About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $1.1 trillion in the search for new treatments and cures, including $102.3 billion in 2021 alone. 

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