Many Americans are having a hard time covering ever-increasing healthcare costs, and this is hurting their ability to save for retirement and generally painting a grim picture for household finances, according to the 2006 Health Confidence Survey. The study was conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Mathew Greenwald and Associates. Thirty-six percent of survey participants reported increased healthcare costs result in a decrease in savings for retirement, which is a jump from 25 percent in 2004. Twenty-eight percent reported having a hard time covering basic necessities, a result that is also up from the previous 18 percent. Most Americans seem to value health benefits even over pay increases. According to the survey, 75 percent with employment-based benefits would rather see $6,700 in employment-based coverage over the same amount in income. Overall, U.S. citizens are also increasingly unhappy with the healthcare system in general, with six in 10 Americans rating the system as fair (28 percent) or poor (31 percent).