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Affordable Healthcare Alternatives Can Minimize the Fallout from COVID

While lockdowns have helped save lives by mitigating the spread of COVID-19, their implications for the economy and the long-term health of the population are far-reaching. As companies struggled to adjust their business models to survive during the pandemic, many were forced to shut their doors or downsize to stay afloat. Economists predict the record unemployment seen over the past year will affect the health of Americans and increase the mortality rate.

Past studies show that decreasing the use of preventive care, an increased suicide rate, and an increase in cardiovascular disease deaths can cause death rates to surge when unemployment rises. Economists Francesco Bianchi, Giada Bianchi, and Dongho Song recently analyzed how changes in U.S. unemployment rates correlated with changes in U.S. mortality figures in recent decades.

Sobering Predictions

The economists predict pandemic-related unemployment could cause about 460,000 excess U.S. deaths over the next ten years. That doesn’t include the number of people killed by the COVID-19 virus itself. It’s a very sobering thought when you let it sink in. Financial experts expect nearly half a million people to die from health problems brought on by financial stress and a lack of preventive care.

According to economists, there are a few things policymakers and companies can do to get ahead of this dire prediction. They recommend mask-wearing and social distancing in the workplace and advocate ensuring people have access to health care. Here we’ll examine how affordable healthcare alternatives, such as direct primary care (DPC), can soften the financial blow for employers and current or laid-off employees who want to maintain their access to quality healthcare.

The Problem with COBRA

Millions of workers have been laid off or furloughed over the past year, and while many could opt into health coverage under COBRA, that can be very expensive for employees and employers. If an employee has chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, getting regular care can also lead to excessively high claims costs for employers in this scenario.

A DPC membership with a low monthly membership fee can be an affordable healthcare alternative in cases like these. Suppose employees (current, laid off, or furloughed) are looking for day-to-day primary care and preventive care. In that case, a nationwide direct primary care membership can be a cost-effective healthcare option.

No-Claims Healthcare Alternative

The purpose of the relationship between a patient and a primary care physician (PCP) is to create a continuous health-management conversation rooted in trust and respect. Preventive screenings, knowledge of family health history, and managing chronic conditions are a few of the benefits of this relationship.

Even before the financial stressors and unemployment caused by the pandemic, 60 percent of Americans were living with one or more chronic diseases. Some of these conditions were preventable but went undetected due to a lack of primary care. Sometimes disease states escalate due to lack of consistent care, which is often tied to financial strain. This doesn’t have to be the case when you have a no-claims solution like direct primary care.

Because DPC isn’t health insurance, there are no claims to impact the employer’s bottom line and no deductibles for the employee to meet before getting necessary care. For example, Healthcare2U offers direct primary care memberships that provide unlimited in-office primary care visits for a low fee and telehealth or virtual visits for no out-of-pocket costs. These benefits allow workers to not only get preventive care, but the membership also includes unlimited treatment and management of 13 chronic disease states for the same $10 visit fee. Healthcare2U accepts pre-existing conditions within manageable ranges, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Blood Pressure
  • CHF
  • COPD
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • GERD
  • Gout
  • Hypertension
  • Thyroid

Hope for the Future

Economists predict the number of excess deaths caused by pandemic-related unemployment could amount to about 1 in 400 people in the U.S. population in 2035 or about 1 in 270 people in 2040. That’s .25 to .37 percent of the population, and it’s preventable with quality healthcare.

Benefits brokers have a unique opportunity to educate employers who may or may not be forced to lay off employees about the cost savings associated with direct primary care. By utilizing an affordable monthly healthcare membership, people can continue getting preventive care and treating chronic conditions that could lead to mortality.

If you’d like more information about DPC for current or laid-off workers, contact Healthcare2U.

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