Some 200,000 Coloradans enrolled in health insurance before the March 31 open enrollment deadline—but they might not be making the most of their coverage. According to a recent independent study, Coloradans may be shying away from medical care because they’re afraid of the costs.
New research commissioned by Colorado HealthOP, Colorado’s first statewide nonprofit health insurance cooperative, found that Coloradans fear the costs of medical care more than they fear illness or injury. The CO-OP commissioned the survey to better understand the beliefs and behaviors of Colorado healthcare consumers.
A majority of the survey respondents were insured. Confirming the need for Coloradans to effectively use their health insurance plans in order to proactively manage their health and their healthcare costs.
In the survey, 625 Coloradans were interviewed about their healthcare experiences, beliefs and behaviors. Research highlights include:
1. Coloradans have avoided medical care because of the cost. More than half (54 percent) of Coloradans have not gone to the doctor because of the cost. Nearly half (45 percent) have not purchased a medicine their doctor prescribed because of the cost.
2. Coloradans fear the cost of being sick more than they fear being sick. Only 15 percent of Coloradans rated their fear of being sick as a 4 or 5, with 5 being “extremely fearful.” Nearly three times as many (42 percent) rated their fear of the cost of being sick as a 4 or 5.
3. Coloradans fear the cost of injuring themselves more than they fear injury itself. Only 35 percent of Coloradans rated their fear of injuring themselves as a 4 or 5, with 5 being “extremely fearful.” Nearly twice as many (62 percent) rated their fear of the cost of injuring themselves as a 4 or 5.
“Even if you have health insurance, it is important to educate yourself about the costs of your healthcare needs,” said Julia Hutchins, chief executive officer of Colorado HealthOP. “At Colorado HealthOP, we help our members understand their true costs and empower them to make decisions to reduce expenses.”
Colorado HealthOP provides tools to help its members reduce their healthcare costs. To help its members compare costs prior to seeking medical care, the CO-OP partners with Healthcare Bluebook to provide pricing and quality ratings for local providers of surgery, medical tests and other common procedures. Members in many Colorado HealthOP plans also receive financial rewards, such as money on a debit card and reduced out-of-pocket costs for doctors’ visits, when they take specific health actions.
For more information about Colorado HealthOP, please visit www.COHealthOP.org.