'I definitely am avoiding appointments': Cost, not just COVID-19 risk, driving delays

While at first Americans avoided medical care out of fear of contracting COVID-19, many now are avoiding it for a different reason: a rising unemployment rate has rendered healthcare unaffordable, according to The New York Times.

Four takeaways from the article:

1. For Americans who lost their job during the pandemic, cost has become the main reason they are delaying care. Many are making sure basic necessities like food and rent are paid for before seeking medical services.

2. Kristina Hartman, who lost her job at a truck manufacturer in Texas, told the Times' Reed Abelson that, "It started out as a total fear of going to the doctor," but, "I definitely am avoiding appointments" in part because of cost. Ms. Hartman skipped a scheduled visit with her kidney physician and has delayed following up on abnormal lab results with her endocrinologist.

3. Ms. Hartman's story isn't an anomaly. The Kaiser Family Foundation found last month that nearly half of Americans live with someone who has delayed medical services since COVID-19 took hold or they themselves have postponed care. The survey didn't specify why care was delayed, but Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research at Kaiser, told the Times, "We know historically we have always seen large shares of people who have put off care for cost reasons."

4. Early evidence of care delays amid COVID-19 indicates that patients are putting off care until their conditions are severe. Ultimately, this leads to poorer health outcomes and higher costs. 

Read the full article here.

More articles on healthcare finance:
Texas health system refiles for bankruptcy
Tower Health to cut 1,000 jobs
7 health systems report $1B+ losses in Q1


Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars