The epidemic threatens to show the seams of a system in which going to the doctor can be proprietary or carry disproportionate and unexpected financial consequences, whether or not you have medical insurance.
It is said that to contain the virus people should call their doctor if they develop symptoms, so that they can be subjected to the screening test, but will those who fear they cannot afford it?
Obstacles to timely diagnosisRELATED
28 million Americans (10% of the population) lack health insurance and almost half of people with a private policy have plans with deductibles that are too high. It is already known that 1 in 4 Americans postpone the attention of serious illnesses for economic reasons, as a report by the Gallup pollster recently revealed.
In the case of a highly contagious virus and for which there is still no treatment available, this can have serious implications for public health.
“Timely diagnosis is essential to stop transmission and reduce fatality rates. In the absence of a universal health system, I am very concerned that fear for medical bills inhibits people from seeking diagnosis and treatment, ”Alison Galvani, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Models and Analysis of Univision News, tells Univision Noticias. Yale University.
Other experts such as Gavin Yamey, a professor of public health at Duke University agree: “One of the disadvantages that the US has to control the Covid-19 epidemic is that many people avoid seeing the doctor because they are worried about the cost. One would definitely want people in this situation to go to the doctor, ”he clarifies to Quartz.
Remove financial barriers
There is already evidence th at in the past the barriers to access to health have worsened epidemics. A CDC study on the H1N1 outbreak in 2009 estimated that 5 million workers in the country (plus one million of them Hispanic) were infected because they lacked basic protections in their jobs.
And the landscape has not changed much since then, as Vanessa Kerry, a doctor and professor at Harvard Medical School and CEO of Seed Global Health, sees in an opinion article published on WAB NEWS.
That same year, we sought to expand the short-term short-term health plans that, although they are cheaper, limit coverage. And in the proposed budget for this year, the Trump administration proposed cuts of 844 billion to Medicaid in the next decade.
The new public charge standard that went into effect this week could inhibit immigrants from seeking medical help.
“Removing financial barriers or punishments for those seeking diagnosis or medical care will be essential to motivate people to collaborate with public health,” said the expert.
For now it is unclear how the Trump administration will face these challenges.
Some states like New York have taken a step forward to attack the problem. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he ordered state insurance not to charge people for taking the test, including co-payments for going to the doctor or hospital.
If you have Obamacare insurance, the Covid-19 test is free or not so expensive if it is done in a doctor’s office and not directly in a hospital, Jonathan Gruber, professor of economics at MIT, tells Newsweek.
What do I do if I don’t have health insurance?
Do not let economic concerns deprive you of seeking medical attention if necessary. Check if there is a community clinic in your area or consider using a telemedicine service that can help you determine if you could really have Covid-19.
Also keep in mind that all health centers that receive federal funds have a duty to provide medical care to patients who suffer a life or death emergency, regardless of whether they have papers or medical insurance. The law requires them to provide care until the patient is stable, but not thereafter, so that the person has not healed completely.
The impressive images that explain the origin of the name “coronavirus”
READ MORE WAB NEWS