The rising cost of health care continues to be one of California’s most urgent issues, according to a newly released statewide survey conducted by the California Health Care Foundation and NORC at the University of Chicago — with more than one in four Californians (27%) saying they or someone in their family struggled to pay at least one medical bill in the last 12 months, up from 20% two years ago. For Californians with lower incomes, the percentage increases to 44% reporting difficulty paying bills.
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Californians report they are “very” or “somewhat worried” about unexpected medical bills and out-of-pocket health care costs. More than one in three Californians (36%) reports having some kind of medical debt — a figure that climbs to 52% for those with lower incomes. Of those with medical debt, one in five (19%) reports owing $5,000 or more.
Just over half of Californians (52%) report skipping or delaying at least one kind of health care due to cost in the past 12 months — and of those who delayed care, half (50%) say their condition got worse as a result.
- California Health Care Foundation: The 2023 CHCF California Health Policy Survey (Feb 2023)