Healthcare costs listed as top concern among Hoosiers

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The Indiana Manufacturers Association (IMA) and We Ask America, released their first collaborative, statewide public opinion poll of Indiana on January 8, 2019. Voters were asked their opinions about the direction of the country and state, current job market, the job performance of its leaders, what issues matter most to them, and about healthcare costs and whether it has affected them or someone in their household.

One issue clearly affecting voters around the state is healthcare costs. Fifty-five percent (55%) of Hoosiers listed affordable healthcare as one of the top three issues they want the state legislature to focus on as they convene for the 2020 legislative session. One in three households have received an unexpected medical bill in the last year, and a majority of voters have seen their health insurance or out-of-pocket expenses increase in the past year.

Although the survey results in its entirety includes the voters’ opinions about a number of issues the key findings published below only reflect the voters healthcare concerns.

Indiana voters care about affordable healthcare and a stable economy. When asked to rank what issues they’d like the governor and legislators in Indianapolis to focus on in the new year, Hoosiers focused primarily on creating jobs and improving the economy and making healthcare more affordable. Overall, 22% listed jobs/economy as their top issue while 20% chose affordable healthcare. These were followed by a near three-way tie between increasing funding for public education, cutting taxes, and fighting crime and drugs. When combining respondents top 3 issues, 55% listed affordable healthcare, 50% jobs/economy, 46% education funding and 43% cutting taxes.

When asked about rising healthcare costs, Hoosiers are pretty clear in who they blame. When asked about a recent RAND study that showed Indiana having some of the highest hospital costs in the nation, 35% placed responsibility on doctors and hospitals overcharging or excessive fees for medical procedures and 22% on increases in insurance company premiums or lack of good coverage/accessibility within the system. Just 2% reported nothing, the system is fine. Of those that had listed making healthcare more affordable as their top priority for the legislature, 35% blamed hospitals overcharges and 22% cited insurance company premiums/lack of good coverage. One region that stands out across Indiana is the southwest, where nearly a majority, 45% of voters, placed the blame on hospitals overcharging. This is 7% higher than the next closest region, the northeast, at 38%.

One out of every three Indiana households received an unexpected medical bill this past year. Thirty-three percent (33%) of overall respondents reported that they or someone in their household received an unexpected medical bill in the last year. This disproportionately affected women and younger Hoosiers, with 37% of women compared to 29% of men receiving an unexpected bill. Among 18-34 year-olds, 47% received an unexpected bill. Thirty-six percent (36%) of 35-49 year-olds and 33% of 50-64 year-olds reported the same. Seniors reported the lowest rate at 19% saying they got a medical bill they had not expected. Residents in the southern regions of the state also reported higher rates of unexpected bills, with 42% of those in the southeast and 44% in the southwest receiving an unexpected bill, 10 points higher than the central and northern regions.

Over half of Hoosiers reported an increase in health care insurance or out-of-pocket costs in the last year. A majority, 54% of Indiana voters say that they or someone in their household experienced an increase in health care insurance costs or out-of-pocket costs. The increase in costs was generally similar across the board, however it was slightly higher among women, who reported at 57% compared with men at 52%.

Methodology 

This poll was conducted between December 5th and 15th, 2019 using online surveys. In all, 1,000 interviews were achieved and weighted by age, gender, race, and geography to reflect a representation of registered voters in Indiana. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.1% at a confidence interval of 95%.

Note that some charts do not total 100% due to rounding.

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