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Americans are avoiding health care because of high costs at the detriment of their health

December 13, 2018

By Christopher Wolfington

Good health ripples out to many areas of our lives. It is the foundation of our well-being. While we can certainly succeed in life with less than perfect health, good health helps us feel better and live better. In the United States, we have extensive health care systems and some of the best doctors and medical technology in the world. 

But some in this country who are sick and living with treatable conditions delay seeking health care. Some even ignore health care altogether, getting by because they feel that is the only way. These individuals avoid care because of high costs, and their avoidance of treatment is detrimental to their health.  

The numbers for just how many people avoid treatment are somewhat staggering. According to a recent survey, 61% of Americans have no money saved for healthcare expenses, 64% have avoided or delayed medical care in the previous year because of costs, and 44% of individuals would not receive medical care even if their health was put at risk if out-of-pocket expenses exceeded $500.

Putting off healthcare is not without its consequences. Indeed, delaying treatment because of costs carries a hefty health detriment. A2011 study publishedin the American Journal of Medical Quality found that “people who delayed or forwent medical treatment were significantly less likely to report having an excellent or very good health status and had significantly lower quality-of-life scores” compared with those who did not delay. In other words, putting off healthcare didn’t just impact the health-related issues, but it also made life worse for them in general. 

So, what is the solution? One obvious solution is to make healthcare more affordable and have health insurance provide better coverage. There are many ways and ideas for how to do this, but progress on this front is going to take significant legislation on the state and federal levels, and so focusing only in that avenue is not a complete solution.

Healthcare should learn lessons from other large industries in the US.  For example, how many homes would be sold if everyone had to pay cash.  The mortgage industry responded to this problem by creating a variety of mortgage products to fit almost any household budget. Healthcare can help individuals get the care they need by making the payment process as convenient, clear, and painless as possible. You should be able to have more payment options and more freedom of choice, empowering you to do what’s best for you and your health. Finpaycan help you do that.

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