The vast majority of patients, nurses, and physicians said that insurer policies and practices are reducing access to medical care, driving up healthcare costs, and increasing clinician burden and burnout, the American Hospital Association (AHA) reported in survey results released in July 2023.

The findings from three new Morning Consult surveys quantify the extent that some commercial insurer practices affect the healthcare experience for both patients and providers, AHA said. In their survey responses, patients and providers overwhelmingly cited the insurance industry for barriers that delayed and worsened access to care.

  • Most patients (83%) want their healthcare provider to determine what care they receive, not their insurance company.
  • Over half of patients (54%) have difficulty affording insurance costs and premiums.
  • Nurses overwhelmingly (84%) believe that insurance administrative policies delay patient care. 74% said that it reduces the quality of care, and 63% said that it interferes with a patient being transferred to the right care setting.
  • More than 80% of physicians said that insurance practices and policies affect their ability to practice medicine.
  • Increased insurance administrative requirements have taken a toll on clinicians, with 56% of nurses saying their job satisfaction has decreased because of it and 84% of physicians saying that the policies make it difficult to operate a solo practice.

“These surveys bear out what we’ve heard for years: certain insurance companies’ policies and practices are reducing healthcare access and making it more difficult for our already overwhelmed clinicians to provide care,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said. “Health insurance should be a bridge to medical care, not a barrier to it for patients. If policymakers are serious about expanding access and addressing the healthcare workforce crisis, then we must hold insurance companies accountable for these harmful practices.”

In the complex U.S. healthcare system’s multiple moving parts, patients are often seen as customers and money is a driving factor in care. But oncology nursing advocacy, whether through ONS and its partners and coalitions or individually at more local levels, makes a difference.

One current example of an advocacy movement to advance healthcare coverage—and therefore access—involves the biomarker testing coverage bills at the state level. The waves of states passing the legislation is a testament to advocacy in action. Lend your voice to land your state on the latest list for covered testing.