Is Ailing Economy Harmful To Your Health?

Gabrielle Revere looks like the picture of health.

But she's taking a chance - skipping visits to the doctor even when she had strep throat, reports CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.

"Is it worth the $300 to go into the doctor's office, to tell me I have strep, and then get a prescription filled that my health insurance doesn't cover for another $50?" Revere asks.

A survey today finds the ailing economy is forcing more than 80 million Americans - even insured people like Revere - to cut back on healthcare.

Thirty-six percent of Americans are delaying care - a big jump from six months ago. About 30 per cent skip a test or treatment; 27 percent don't fill a prescription.

An informal survey taken by LaPook showed that many patients have missed appointments, screenings and medications.

Another survey shows it's young adults who have been hit the hardest: nearly 70 percent say the downturn has made it more difficult in the last year to pay for medical expenses.

"I haven't had a physical or any kind of checkup in a long time," says Scott Crumpler.

Health care economists warn that skimping on even minor illness can have serious consequences.

"When people cut back on preventive care on the monitoring and care of chronic illnesses, they are really cutting back on their own lives, on the health and quality of their lives in the long run," said Dr. Sherry Glied of Columbia University.

FYI: Learn some low-cost health care options, and how insurance might be closer to reach than you think here.
But it's hard to think about the long run - even though Gabrielle Revere knows she is gambling with her health.

"If I'm sick, I'm pretty much up a creek!" says Revere.

Even though young adults report cutting back the most, this is obviously a problem for all ages.