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Americans Anxious About Their Health Security

Armen Hareyan's picture

High costs, fear of losing their health coverage, and concern about managing chronic disease drive Americans' insecurity about their health and healthcare.

The survey findings were tabulated into the first Health Security Index, which ranks Americans' health security at 66 out of 100, and were announced today at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

"The Health Security Index measures Americans' sentiments about their health and healthcare," said Lloyd H. Dean, president/chief executive officer of CHW. "At CHW, we believe healthcare is a fundamental human right. The health security of our nation's people is a critical measure of our society's strength and should be a key consideration as the nation considers reform."

According to the survey, more than one-third (34 percent) of U.S. adults indicate they are not secure about their healthcare and only one-quarter say they are extremely secure. The rest of the nation hovers in the middle, secure for now because they are relatively healthy and have employer-sponsored health insurance.

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The Health Security Index is calculated from responses to a 20-minute, nationwide telephone survey. A subset of 17 questions were used to construct the Index, which measures respondents' attitudes and perceptions about subjects including affordability, quality, and access to healthcare in their communities. It also explored their feelings about health insurance coverage and the state of the nation's healthcare system. A score of 75 or higher would be considered relatively high; more than 59, but less than 75, is considered medium; and 59 or lower is considered low.

Income, health status, and insurance coverage separate those who are secure and those who are not secure in their health. Individuals with incomes in excess of $75K score an average of 74 on the Index, while those earning less than $35K score an average of 60.

"The results of the Health Security Index paint a mixed and troubling portrait of health security in the United States," said Steve Bodhaine, president of The Segmentation Company, the division of Yankelovich, Inc. that conducted the survey. "The level of insecurity varies across the different economic and ethnic sectors of our society, and a potentially dangerous economic divide separates those who are secure and those who are not secure in their health."

In addition to the overall Index ranking, the national survey provides key insights into the perceptions Americans have about their health and the healthcare system.