LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The fourth annual healthcare survey released today by the national non-profit Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) shows that Americans continue to feel the most important aspect of the U.S. healthcare system is affordability, followed by ample meeting time with physicians during office visits. On average, two in five (41 percent) consumers say being able to afford medical care is at the top of their healthcare priority list, and yet 56 percent of Americans feel healthcare costs are a very or somewhat significant source of stress - just behind money (74 percent), the economy (63 percent), and housing costs (57 percent).
"Since the start of the ACA, our annual TCHS survey has shown that access to affordable and quality healthcare is imperative to Americans," said Hector De La Torre, Executive Director of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies. "Moving into 2017, Americans' top priorities are access to care, one-on-one time with doctors and paying for associated expenses. These consumer priorities are vital as they can inform any changes to the ACA going forward." Approximately one in three Americans think healthcare-related costs, including premiums (36 percent), deductibles (32 percent) and out-of-pocket expenses (32 percent) have increased. More than half (58 percent) spend approximately $0 to $99 per month on routine health expenses and the majority (81 percent) say they can afford their routine healthcare expenses. Since this survey was first conducted in 2013, Americans are more likely to say they can afford healthcare costs today compared to four years ago (81 percent vs. 71 percent). However, a large gap still remains in comparison with the uninsured, 63 percent of whom say they cannot afford routine healthcare expenses.