Because of the important role health plays in all aspects of our lives, many feel more needs to be done to address the crisis of healthcare inequality for children. In addition to poor fitness and nutrition, a lack of proper healthcare also contributes to these children’s conditions. Unfortunately, the number of children with health coverage in the U.S. declined for the third consecutive year in 2019, according to census data—and that was during a period of economic growth. The pandemic also ushered in sweeping job losses that cost many families their health coverage, with certain parts of the country feeling the impact more than others.
According to a report by the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, Texas and Florida were among the states with a more pronounced loss of health insurance for children. The report also highlighted the fact that Latino children were disproportionately affected.
With nearly 4.4 million children uninsured as of 2019, the pandemic’s fallout is still ongoing and is yet known. It appears the future health of the American population is at risk unless families at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder can find a solution to the healthcare crisis. Here we’ll examine the importance of addressing care inequality for children and how to eliminate the disparities.
What happens when we ignore the problem?
According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of infants, children, and adolescents in the United States do not receive essential clinical preventive services. The report revealed large disparities in the receipt of clinical preventive services between insured and uninsured children. Hispanic children were also less likely than non-Hispanic children to have reported vision screenings.
Preventive healthcare services delivered by primary care physicians support healthy development in children. Because primary care is the foundation for good health, these services prevent and detect conditions and diseases in their earlier, more treatable stages and significantly reduce the risk of illness, premature death, disability, and expensive medical care in the future.
Newborns and children usually see doctors more than adults because their needs change as they grow. According to the CDC, 32 percent of children’s visits to the doctor are for preventive care. Without access to essential healthcare services and screenings, sick children become even sicker adults with chronic conditions and other illnesses that could have been prevented.
Primary Care Providers Promote Wellness in Children
Primary care doctors care for adults and younger patients, including well-child visits and vaccinations, and provide care for illnesses, injuries, and other disorders. Having one doctor who tends to the whole family’s needs can be especially helpful when family members share the same health issues. Understanding your family’s health history and learning how to course-correct is invaluable, but when so many can’t afford health coverage, is this a luxury reserved only for affluent families? Not anymore.
Even when employees are fortunate enough to have health coverage through their employer, many can’t afford to cover their dependents. Premiums escalate for every family member added to a health plan. Because of the cost, many are forced to choose between keeping their lights on or providing healthcare for their children. For this reason, many have turned to direct primary care (DPC).
DPC is an affordable option for employees, but it can also be implemented as a dependent-only alternative. The employee can keep their employer-paid plan and choose primary care and chronic disease management for their spouse and children at an affordable monthly rate.
Significant Benefits for a Small Cost
Considering eighty percent1 of annual healthcare services can be addressed through a family physician, Direct Primary Care is comprehensive. Since DPC isn’t health insurance, there are no expensive monthly premiums, deductibles to meet, or costly copays. The member, or their employer, pays a low monthly fee for a healthcare membership that includes unlimited primary care office visits, telehealth, and virtual care for little-to-no out-of-pocket costs. Direct primary care providers like Healthcare2U even offer DPC memberships for employees that have been laid off or furloughed.
With a nationwide network of primary care providers, they’ve also eliminated geographic barriers to care. So regardless of where people live, they can get primary care and preventive screenings for their families at a very affordable cost.
It’s vitally important for employees to understand the scope of their health and their children’s health. Staff can’t function at their best when they are sick or worried about a sick child who can’t get needed care. By providing an affordable alternative like direct primary care, employers can provide peace of mind for employees and reap the rewards of productivity and increased employee morale.
If you’d like more information on implementing DPC to end care inequality for children and employer groups nationwide, contact Healthcare2U for more details.
1 Andrew Bazemore, MD, MPH, Stephen Petterson, PhD, Lars E. Peterson, MD, PhD, Richard Bruno, MD, MPH, Yoonkyung Chung, PhD, Robert L. Phillips Jr, MD, MSPH, “Annals of Family Medicine: Higher Primary Care Physician Continuity is Associated With Lower Costs and Hospitalizations,” 2018, 493