Health & Science

An increasing number of Texans say they’re struggling to afford healthcare, new survey finds

The Episcopal Health Foundation found that more than two-thirds of Texans said they skipped medical care last year because they couldn’t afford it.

The working poor in Texas are too poor to qualify for an insurance plan at Healthcare.gov, but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr / KUT

An increasing number of Texans say they lack access to affordable healthcare, according to a new survey conducted by the Episcopal Health Foundation.

The Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) surveyed 1,201 Texas adults last year and found that 68% of participants said they’ve skipped or postponed medical care over the last year because they couldn’t afford it — up from 59% who skipped or postponed care last year. The survey also found that 42% of Texans said they’ve skipped recommended medical tests or treatments and 35% did not get a prescription filled due to the costs.

“When people miss those things and their preventive care, health often worsens and health outcomes are worse,” said Ann Barnes, president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation. "These poll numbers paint a grim picture of the barriers that many Texans are facing in accessing essential medical care."

MORE: Ann Barnes discusses the survey on Houston Matters

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In addition to affordability issues, EHF's survey also found that about 28% of Texans said they didn’t have a primary care doctor. Additionally, 66% of uninsured Texans under the age of 65 said they didn’t have a primary care provider.

The survey also found racial disparities among Texans who said they’ve struggled to pay for healthcare. The poll found that 62% of Hispanic Texans and 55% of Black Texans said they’ve struggled to afford medical care, compared to 44% of white Texans who gave the same response.

Additionally, the survey found that 75% of Texans said non-medical factors were impacting their health, like lacking job security, living in an area without essential resources or not having access to affordable housing and healthy food.

The survey also found that an increasing number of Texans said they’ve struggled to afford basic necessities like food and transportation. About 41% of Texans said they’ve struggled to afford food in 2022 — a sharp increase from 29% in 2021, according to the survey. Similarly, 54% of Texans said it was difficult to cover transportation costs last year, compared to 42% in 2021.

“True health goes beyond what happens in the doctor’s office,” Barnes said. “In addition to ensuring access to health care, we have to look for ways to confront the unequal and unacceptable health realities outside of the doctor’s office that are causing poor health in our communities.”

Read EHF's 2022 Texas Health Care Tracking Poll below: