Accessing quality healthcare is very challenging for many U.S. residents right now, despite recent government efforts to improve the healthcare system. The Affordable Care Act and subsequent legislation was intended to make it easier for patients to get insurance coverage, especially for those with pre-existing conditions. However, there are still massive inequities and structural problems within the American healthcare system that prevent people from getting the care they need.
There are many different factors that are limiting access to healthcare in the United States right now. In this series, we’ll take a look at some of these limiting factors and how they affect the average American and their employers. First up, let's take a look at how rising healthcare costs currently impact access.
One of the biggest barriers to access in the United States is rising healthcare costs, including the cost of actual delivery, the costs of medicines, and the cost of healthcare insurance. Healthcare costs have been consistently increasing over the past few decades, and are likely to continue increasing in the future unless the government takes steps to limit these increases.
We’ve seen increases in costs across many different parts of the healthcare industry, including both inpatient and outpatient services, facility fees, pharmaceuticals, and more.
Even with insurance, the costs of healthcare can be inaccessible for low- to middle-class families. Insurance premiums have been on the rise as well, which means that citizens often pay a high monthly fee just for insurance before they’ve even accessed any healthcare, and regardless of whether they'll use it or not. The average unsubsidized premium in 2021 for a single individual for health insurance was over $7,700 per year, increasing over 20% since 2016.
These increasing costs mean that even Americans with stable jobs often cannot afford the healthcare they need, meaning that instead, problems remain untreated. A recent Gallup study indicated that approximately 18 percent of American adults cannot afford the healthcare they need. That percentage increases for Black and Hispanic Americans, as well as for younger adults. Additionally, cost is 30% more likely to the reason rural Americans don't seek healthcare, compared to those in metro areas. The alternative often is leaving conditions unaddressed until the individual has to visit the Urgent Care or Emergency Room for much more expensive care, rather than having been able to address their needs early on.
At Hamilton Health Box, we’ve made it our mission to make healthcare accessible, convenient, and affordable. With our telemedicine enabled onsite clinics, we can serve clients with as few as 100 employees, allowing you to get the healthcare when you need it, where you need it.
Following on, next week we'll be exploring how limitations to health insurance inhibit access to healthcare. Subscribe below so you don't miss it!