Special Report

States Where the Most People Delayed Getting Medical Care Because of COVID-19

There were 3.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 127,000 related deaths in the United States as of July 14. With the hospitals in some states pushed to near-full capacity and millions left out of work and without health insurance, one of the secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been delayed medical treatment for non-coronavirus issues. Here are the states where the virus is growing the fastest.

In a survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau between June 25 and June 30, 41.5% of U.S. adults reported that they had delayed getting medical care because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last four weeks. Using state-level data from the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where the largest share of people have delayed getting medical care because of COVID-19.

One reason Americans are delaying medical care is the fear of contracting the novel coronavirus while in a health center. According to a recent Gallup poll, 42% of Americans are very concerned about exposure to COVID-19 at doctors offices and hospitals. To compare, only 26% of Americans are very concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus in general. 

Many Americans may also delay medical care for financial reasons. The unemployment rate peaked at 14.7% in April, and since March 15, more than 50 million Americans have filed for unemployment. Historically, hospital admissions decline in times of rising unemployment, as more individuals lose their employer-based health coverage and do not want to risk accumulating huge medical debts should they seek treatment. For more on medical debt, see how many people in your state are burdened with medical debt.

Fears of contracting COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or hospital are greater among older Americans, and individuals with compromised immune systems and other underlying chronic health conditions. In the same Gallup poll, 56% of immunocompromised adults reported that they were very concerned about exposure to COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or hospital. For more on COVID-19 risk factors see the number of adults at risk of coronavirus in every state.

Click here to see the states where the most people delayed getting medical care because of COVID-19
Click here to read our methodology