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The Problem with Accessing Healthcare Part 3: Patients Are Avoiding Care

Adrian Trömel
February 9, 2022

Patients Are Avoiding Care

In the last two issues of Insights, we spoke about how ever-increasing healthcare costs and the incentives around insurance make it increasingly difficult for individuals to access, and employers to offer healthcare services and insurance. Now let’s talk about actually trying to go get healthcare.

When was the last time you got a physical? Only between 20% and 50% of the population have gotten a physical exam in the past year although 92% think it’s important to get a physical exam every year. And what about going to going to see specialists?

For many, the rising costs of healthcare have made seeing a doctor unaffordable, leading many to put off seeking care. If you’re fortunate enough to have insurance with a low co-pay, or even for a free visit such as a physical, many of us don’t understand what we can do with our insurance, or take the time. How does it sound if I told you that to see a doctor you would have to take 4 hours out of a workday, drive somewhere, sit in a waiting room for 30+ minutes, only to be seen by a doctor for 15 minutes (or less for specialists) during which the doctor spent at least a third of the visit on the computer? These issues are even more a concern for the 15%+ of the US population that lives in rural areas for whom access is even more difficult.

All of this leads to individuals not seeking the care they need, when they need it: because of cost, because of time availability, because of the inconvenience.  

Instead of getting preventative care and early treatment, the lack of time, inconvenient access, confusing insurance plan and unaffordable care leads to individuals not seeking care where and when they need it. Unfortunately however, not seeking care can lead to more severe health issues down the road that require more expensive, urgent treatment down the road.

Over two thirds of ER visits are avoidable, costing on average over $2,000 per visit shows research by United Insurance. Rather than visiting the ER, what if the patient had known that a free physical and some prescriptions could have managed the condition? What if that one doctor’s visit that was skipped could have diagnosed you before it was too late?

Increasing the accessibility, affordability and convenience of care in the long run can not only save money, but save lives. We’ve made it our mission to make sure that there’s no reason any more not to get your healthcare - it doesn’t take time to see the doctor, it’s not a hassle, and it’s affordable.