2 in 3 Americans are concerned about being able to afford health care and prescription drugs. While middle-aged Americans aged 45-54 are the most concerned (76% of the cohort), even 54% of younger people between 18 and 34 years of age are worried about health care costs.

HarrisInteractive/HealthDay’s latest suvey into personal health economics finds that people are delaying or avoiding consuming care due to cost. The most common health encounters Americans are avoiding due to cost include:

– Dental visits (34%)
– Physician visits (28%)
– Not receiving a medical test, treatment or follow-up recommended by a doctor (23%)
– Prescription drug fills (22%)
– Taking a medication less often than the doctor recommended (18%).

Middle-aged people between 45 and 54 years of age are most likely to be non-compliant due to cost, according to Harris. This middle-aged segment of people is also the most concerned about losing their health insurance coverage.

HarrisInteractive conducted the survey between February 25 and 27, 2009, among 2,078 adults 18 and over.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Unemployment grew in the U.S. in February 2009; 651,000 jobs were lost during the shortest month of year. This job loss stat adds up to 4.4 million net jobs lost since the beginning of the recession in December 2007.

Unemployment quickly morphs to uninsurance in America. The mathematical mantra is that for every 1% increase in unemployment in the U.S., 1.1 million people become uninsured and 1 million people are added to the Medicaid rolls. This math is based on research done by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2008.

As unemployment continues to rise in 2009, uninsurance will, as well. As a result, we can expect Americans’ worry about health costs — and their self-rationing of health products and services — to exacerbate until their household health economic situations improve. And that won’t happen until the macroeconomic curve reverses its downward trend.

There are two products whose fortunes may be improving in this sad economic season. They are (1) antidepressants and (2) sleep aids.