In this economy, people aren't just cutting out luxuries, nearly half of Americans are skimping on necessities like medication and doctor visits -- drastic actions that could be dangerous to their health.

According to the latest monthly Consumer Reports Index survey, the lack of money to pay for medical bills and medications is consistently the top financial concern of Americans.

For the last three years, the Consumer Reports National Research Center has asked people about their medication and health care use, and about ways they've been cutting costs. This year, the percentage of people who reported skimping on medication and other forms of health care rose 9 percentage points from 39% to 48%, the largest increase so far, according to Consumer Reports.


Has the economy changed your health care habits?
I have cut in half the amount of medications I take because of money.29 (7.7%)
I only go to the doctor in an emergency.93 (24.5%)
I stopped taking my medication because I can\'t afford it.31 (8.2%)
I have delayed taking medical tests or procedures because I can\'t afford them.124 (32.7%)
I am fine. I haven\'t changed anything.102 (26.9%)
In addition, some 21% said they put off a doctor's visit; 17% delayed a medical procedure and 14% declined a medical test.

Some folks went further: 16% didn't fill a prescription; 13% took expired medication; 12% skipped a dose without asking a doctor or pharmacist; 8% split pills in half without telling their doctor or pharmacist and 4% shared a prescription with somebody.

Consumer Reports
offers this advice:
If cost is an issue, raise it with your doctor when he or she prescribes a medication, especially one you might have to take long-term for a chronic condition. Ask if there is a generic version. If not, ask if there is a generic drug in the same "class" of drugs that might work as well. Sometimes even a drug in a different chemical class but with a similar therapeutic effect might just do the trick. That is often this case with drugs that treat such common conditions as allergies, diabetes, heartburn, high cholesterol, and osteoarthritis.

Talk with your pharmacist about costs, too. Ask about special discount generic drug programs. Many chain pharmacies offer a month's supply for about $4 or three months for $10, though restrictions do apply. Your local independent pharmacists might be willing to match those prices.

Finally, avoid free samples when possible. They're usually for the most expensive medications that don't have generic equivalents, and that can cost you when it's time to fill the prescription.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How much house can I afford

Home buying 101, evaluating one of your most important financial decisions.

View Course »

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

19 Comments

Filter by:
scottee

duh!
The Fed printing and diluting our dollar makes our dollar worth less. things are not more expensive.

October 04 2011 at 7:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
delawarejack

Is It Déjà Vu >> October 2008 VS October 2011 All Over Again ???

Date DJIA Close Point Change % Change
October 1, 2008 10,831.07 -19.59 -0.18%
October 2, 2008 10,482.85 -348.22 -3.22%
October 3, 2008 10,325.38 -157.47 -1.50%
October 6, 2008 9,955.50 -369.88 -3.58%
October 7, 2008 9,447.11 -508.39 -5.11%
October 8, 2008 9,258.10 -189.01 -2.00%
October 9, 2008 8,579.19 -678.91 -7.33%
October 10, 2008 8,451.19 -128.00 -1.49%

During these eight trading days, the DJIA would drop a total of 2,399.47 points or 22.11%

October 02 2011 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
savemycountry911

Why won't Obummer take responsibility for ANYTHING. What an idiot.

September 29 2011 at 9:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mrbjaw

Flash back 1998 " Yes We Can, Yes We Can", Fast foward 2011 "No You Can't, No You Can't", No jobs, no money, more taxes, cost more for gas, health insurance, food, electric. No loans, no interest on your money and if you have any money, and it you do, more taxes. Three wars and rebuilding the world, but not U.S., going throu hell if you want to fly, but can walk across the border, for free, and never be looked at. Boy, We Are better off now, then we were 4 years ago. NOT

September 28 2011 at 7:04 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mrbjaw's comment
chris1011

The party of NO has done their job well, haven't they!!!

September 28 2011 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gmydogbud

If our government did not give free healthcare to Illegal Aliens and their Anchor Babies, those who never worked a day in their life in this country and Hundreds of Billions to Countries and People who HATE us and wish us DEAD; there would not be a problem with Health Care For American Citizens! They believe and do give to others and to hell with the American People. The President and Members of Congress want No Part of His SUB-STANDARD "Obama Care", yet they are trying their best to force it on American Citizens! Remember Nancy Pelosi said that they had to Pass It, to Findout What Was In It! Heads up Nancy - If it is not good enough for you, then it is NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOUR EMPLOYERS!!

September 28 2011 at 5:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Samir semaan

Healthcare is available but jobs is lacking and the global economy is slowing down from Asia to Europe and the USA and the Euro debt crisis are looming on the horizon that is why the economy is slowing down and that why there is need to spend more money by the Government whether by working together in the house to get a bill or by try to eliminate the waste from the social programs that is taking a toll on the revenues and spending.

September 28 2011 at 5:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Frank

Health care is available for everyone...thats the good news. The BAD news is who the heck can afford the outrageous skyrocketing cost. Even catostrophic coverage (for major surgery etc..) will run a couple thousand a year and with that you roll the dice because your doctor visits and testing won't be covered, at least until you are in the hospital. As long as corporations and Private Equity firms are in control of the medical industry we are doomed.

September 28 2011 at 4:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Frank's comment
Greg

@Frank, it's true, health care insurance is pretty much for the rich and the employeed. If you aren't rich and you are unemployed, you probably don't have health care. And, America has made it clear that this is just perfectly fine, that any reform is not wanted.

I disagree, but I am in the minority.

October 03 2011 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Gassen

Access to the health care system in this god-forsaken country is a crying, criminal shame. And the people who control who gets health care and who doesn't don't feel any shame because they're incapable of feeling shame. All they can feel is the euphoria at raking in more and more money at the expense of the millions upon millions of common folks who are getting less and less every day. And the Republicans are worried about the future we're passing on to our children and grandchildren? My question is, what future? We might just as well all die off and leave the future to the 2% of wage earners who will survive to suck in all the noxious air they've created after having successfully nixed all the clean air regulations that heretofore had crimped their profits. The future? They can have it.

September 28 2011 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
denjo4651

The poopy has finally hit the fan.

September 28 2011 at 4:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ren

Actually, I'm pretty sure the economy is jeopardizing most people's health due to the overwhelming stress of not being able to afford ANYTHING and either being unemployed or being in some underpaying job they hate just so they can bring in some money. Stress kills.

September 28 2011 at 3:01 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply