3 Reasons You Should Be Having as Much Fun as Possible

Research suggests the best way to navigate a pandemic, work, family stress, and social unrest is to have as much fun as you possibly can. It may sound counterintuitive or even selfish, but not doing so can be detrimental to your health and mental well-being. Recreational deprivation is linked to criminality, obesity, lack of creativity, anxiety, and depression. Here we’ll explore three reasons you should have as much fun as possible.

Play Teaches People to Cope Without Violence

Stuart Brown is the founder and president of the U.S. National Institute for Play and author of Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul (2009). As a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in the 1960s, his study of 26 young male murderers helped him identify the vital importance of play in children and adults’ lives.

Brown and his colleagues found that a history of physical abuse and play deprivation played a significant role in these young men’s lives. His further studies revealed regular play was virtually absent throughout the lives of highly violent, antisocial men, regardless of demographic. They concluded the subjects would have been better able to cope with life’s vicissitudes without recourse to violence had they been allowed to play with other children growing up.

On the flip side, highly successful and creative people demonstrated a history of regular social play—a vital part of healthy development. Children learn social competency, curiosity, resilience, and emotional intelligence through play experiences throughout their lives.

Social Fun Mitigates Anxiety and Depression

Socializing and participating in physical activities are healthier coping strategies to manage depression or anxiety than drinking alcohol or dwelling on negative feelings. Exercise and physical activity can also give you the chance to meet or socialize with others.

Dancing, team sports, or working out with a friend can all release feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids), and other natural brain chemicals that can elevate your sense of well-being.

Finding creative ways to take your mind off worries is paramount to ending the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety. Spending time laughing with friends new and old can lighten any mood, whether in person or through technology.

Playing Games is Good for Your Brain

In addition to regular physical exercise and a healthy diet, researchers have found fun activities can help reduce the risk of future cognitive decline. Participating in activities that stimulate the mind, such as reading, writing, and playing games, can improve brain health. Did you know exercising your brain can help prevent beta-amyloid deposits from developing? These harmful proteins are common in those who develop Alzheimer’s disease.

When you stimulate your brain, you also trigger sensory responses that help you stay engaged and pay attention. This response is yet another way playfulness and being engaged with others can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are some brain-stimulating activities you can incorporate into daily life to promote long-term brain health.

  • Virtual game nights
  • Online video games
  • Book clubs
  • Write poetry or short stories
  • Handwrite cards and letters to people you love
  • Take a pottery class
  • Learn how to sew
  • Adult coloring books
  • Painting and drawing
  • Holiday craft projects
  • Build something
  • Take a class
  • Learn a new language
  • Listen to or play music
  • Dance
  • Visit a museum
  • Try new recipes
  • Learn a new word each day
  • Talk to family and friends

As you can see, there is no shortage of stimulating and engaging activities to incorporate into your life. Not only can it help strengthen relationship bonds, but it can also promote your physical and mental well-being.

The holidays are a fun time to connect with new and old acquaintances, pick up a new hobby, or take some time for self-care and reflection. Set yourself up for your most creative and productive year yet by making fun a top priority.

Tailored Healthcare Solutions Protect Employer Profits [Direct Primary Care Takes Center Stage During Open Enrollment]

A well-structured health plan isn’t accidental. Ideally, benefits brokers work with employers to offer a wide range of choices that fill in coverage gaps and address budget concerns for businesses and their employees. Clients want brokers who confidently recommend tailored healthcare solutions because how employees consume healthcare directly impacts their health plan’s overall expenses.

Knowledgeable brokers have learned to layer options like Direct Primary Care (DPC) into health plans to soften the blow of insurance claims and escalating premiums and deductibles. But often, benefits administrators don’t fully understand the power of the tools included in their company health plan and how to instruct employees to utilize them effectively. By communicating DPC’s benefits to their clients before open enrollment, brokers can set companies up for greater success with their health plans and help protect profits.

In turn, a well-equipped benefits administrator can educate employees to use their health plan more effectively and economically — saving the company and the employee more money in the long run.

 Equip Benefits Administrators

Because employees may have been offered traditional health insurance or possibly no health coverage in times past, they do not understand how to use benefits when presented with a choice like direct primary care. Statistically, people who effectively utilize primary care have better long-term health outcomes, so education about the DPC benefit is critical.

Those employees who fail to understand the power of primary care may end up using an urgent care clinic or going to the emergency room for ailments that can easily and more affordably be addressed by a primary care physician. This reactive approach can lead to delayed acute and chronic care, the onset of serious illnesses, and overall declining health. This practice is very costly due to expensive out-of-pocket fees for the patient and can eventually lead to “shock” claims that impact the employer’s bottom line later. The absence of proper care leads to greater absenteeism and presenteeism, which leads to lost productivity and lost profits.

Open enrollment is the perfect time to encourage employer groups to express the importance of having a relationship with a primary care physician and how affordably they can do that with direct primary care. To help employers and benefits administrators understand the benefits and ease of use DPC can provide for them, Healthcare2U has created an eBook titled, “How to Train Your Employees to Protect Profits Through Their Direct Primary Care Membership.” It’s available for download here.

 What Clients Will Learn

By providing simple staff training at open enrollment, employers can train employees to protect profits through a direct primary care membership. In this eBook, they will learn:

  • How to overcome escalating challenges for employers and their employees
  • Why primary care is considered the foundation for health
  • How to deliver a primary care solution for a mobile workforce
  • Ways to educate employees to utilize health plans effectively

Another bonus employer groups will find in the eBook is a video they can email to staff to explain the power of their direct primary care benefits.

Tailored Healthcare Solutions Protect Employer Profits

 Remember, Communication is Key

As your go-to direct primary care organization, Healthcare2U has made it easy for you to communicate how DPC can protect clients’ earnings by mitigating insurance claims. By emailing clients a link to this informative eBook, they can better understand how to train their employees to protect their bottom line.

Employers can then pass on the information to their staff through this short educational video. With these resources available year-round, benefits brokers and employers can help steer employees toward better health outcomes and significant savings for everyone.

Nextgen Solutions to Keep Families Healthy

According to KFF, annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 5 percent to an average of $20,576 in 2019. Workers’ wages grew 3.4 percent, and inflation rose 2 percent over the same period. Families were already struggling to keep up with the costs of healthcare before a global pandemic. In addition to cost barriers, some families also lack the motivation or know-how to improve their health. Here we’ll examine how to make family health and fitness more fun and more affordable.

Make it a Team Sport

Working together as a family to be healthier leads to more successful outcomes. Instead of making a healthy diet and exercise seem like a chore, approaching it as a celebration makes it easier to sustain healthy choices over time. Make health and fitness a family effort, so reaching those health goals becomes a fun team activity.

Learning new flavors, cooking together, and finding healthier food alternatives can be a fun family enterprise. Instead of thinking of it as an uncomfortable lifestyle change, make learning new exercise routines or outdoor activities into another form of entertainment. By challenging and supporting each other, family members set each other up to reach fitness goals.

Making health and fitness experiences positive helps strengthen family bonds and helps households grow together instead of apart. The family that plays together stays together. With activities like hiking, biking, walking, swimming, or outdoor games, clans develop new skills and healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

Take Advantage of Affordable Healthcare

When it comes to establishing a relationship with a primary care doctor, families have struggled in the past due to long wait times to see a doctor, the continually increasing costs, and poor customer service. People often forgo seeing a physician because they don’t want to deal with the hassles or feel they can’t afford it.

In recent years, direct primary care (DPC) has emerged as an affordable healthcare alternative to help families stay healthy. Unlike traditional family practitioners, DPC practitioners keep smaller patient panels, so they are available to provide more personalized care. Most are available for same-day appointments, email or texts, and virtual visits.

Direct primary care has also eased the financial burden associated with getting primary care to keep health conditions from developing into more severe disease states if not treated early. DPC is a monthly healthcare membership that allows members to see a primary care physician as often as necessary for a low monthly fee. Members can schedule unlimited appointments with no copay or a minimal cost, depending on their plan.

DPC Doctors Work for You

When doctors must meet insurance requirements, they work for the insurance companies instead of their patients. This requirement translates into rushed appointments that ignore thorough medical history conversations, long wait times due to overscheduling, and unfulfilling customer experience.

With DPC, families get a doctor who will take the time to know them and their medical history. Instead of waiting weeks to get an appointment or a return call, patients get peace of mind from knowing their doctor is just a simple text or call away anytime day or night. They also eliminate the hassles of dealing with insurance requirements, expensive deductibles, and ever-increasing copays.

Research shows that members who maintain an ongoing relationship with a DPC provider have better health outcomes. Milliman, Inc. recently published a study called “Direct Primary Care: Evaluating a New Model of Delivery and Financing.” They found that DPC members visited emergency rooms 40 percent less over two years. They also reported that DPC members were admitted to the hospital 26 percent less over that same two-year period. If a family uses DPC to supplement their insurance coverage, less E.R. visits and hospital stays mean exponential savings.

With DPC, families get economical and reliable primary care services to help maintain health for a lifetime. If you’d like more information on how DPC can help keep families healthy, contact Healthcare2U.

Home Health Case Study: Enhanced Benefits Increased Retention in an Industry Rifled by Turnover

The nation’s Home Health Industry is plagued by various factors that lend to its remarkably high turnover rate. With low wages and inconsistent schedules, the median annual income for home care workers is around $16,200, leading to high poverty rates among those employed in this industry. In fact, one in five home care workers lives below the federal poverty line, and almost half live in low-income households. These workers are often enticed to bounce from one company to the next, persuaded by cents on the dollar and the promise of benefits. These factors and others lead to the industry’s high turnover rate of 82 percent.

Because of these factors, many home health organizations found turnover to be so severe they had to turn away new clients because they did not have enough caregivers to take on new business.

In addition to turnover, many home care organizations were affected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that mandates organizations with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to provide access to preventative care. In response, home care organizations needed inexpensive health plans that aligned with their thin margins. Because of limited affordable options, many home health organizations enrolled employees into Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) plans. MECs historically are worthless compliance plays, which offer employees no valuable healthcare benefits. These plans exacerbate the need for affordable and convenient healthcare that these underinsured, low-income employees desperately need.

In this case study, we review a home health organization located in South Texas who needed to satisfy the ACA Mandate but wanted to provide their employees with a robust and meaningful benefit. Download the case study to read more! 


The ABCs of DPC – The Building Blocks of Healthcare [ What is Direct Primary Care and Why is it Important? ]

Direct Primary Care is an alternative payment model that provides members with access to their membership for a simple and affordable membership fee. The model encourages members to actively participate in their health by building a trusting relationship with their physician to conduct preventative exams, treat acute conditions, and detect and manage chronic illnesses before they become serious, among other services. DPC provides a solid foundation for members’ health and improves the quality and access to affordable and convenient primary medical care. Let us explore the current state of healthcare and how a health plan can use the ABCs of DPC to redefine healthcare delivery.1

 The Current State of Healthcare

Healthcare expenses are rising. Recently, concerns such as long waiting-periods for acute illnesses, higher copays, and retail healthcare have shifted patients away from their Primary Care Physicians (PCPs), resulting in fragmented care, expensive outcomes, and overall healthcare avoidance.2

  • A majority (70%) of polled Americans believe the state of healthcare has major problems and is in a state of crisis3
  • Nearly 50% of adults do not have a primary healthcare provider,4 and the problem is worse among minorities
  • The average waiting period for an in-office visit with a new primary care physician is 24 days5

This trend of moving away from PCPs drives healthcare costs up and worsens fragmented or unnecessary care. Many Americans6 have skipped recommended medical tests or treatments due to cost, and most say they have a problem paying their basic healthcare bills.7 Because of this avoidance and fragmentation, Americans are developing preventable conditions that are expensive to treat and manage.

  • 92% of Americans have a problem paying basic healthcare bills8
  • 50% of American adults avoid going to a PCP due to costs. 13% of that group said their condition got worse as a result9
  • 50% of Americans have preventable, treatable chronic conditions,10 and these diseases typically cost more than $5,000 per person for care annually.11 For example, the average cost of treating diabetes is $9,601 per person12

For many Americans, our healthcare system is failing them. As health expenses rise, employers shift the financial responsibility of healthcare to their employees, often in the form of High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) – raising out-of-pocket costs and deductibles in exchange for fewer benefits, compounding the issue at hand.

  • From 2006 to 2016 out of pocket spending increased by 54%, while deductibles increased by 176%. Employee wage growth was a mere 29%13
  • The average deductible for a HDHP in 2020 is $2,50014

ABCs of DPC: The Building Blocks of Healthcare

Primary Care is the entry point into the healthcare system and is referred to as the foundation of healthcare. Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) treat a range of acute illnesses and are the first to see early signs of chronic diseases, cancer, or many other issues like depression. These physicians guarantee patients receive the right care in the right setting and establish a trusting relationship that inspires patients to participate in their health and wellness and seek care quicker when new issues arise.

Now imagine unlimited access to your primary care physician when and where you need them. By eliminating barriers to primary medical care, DPC allows affordable and convenient access to services on which members depend. The three building blocks of healthcare below establish the baseline for DPC memberships and guarantee the successful delivery of primary medical care.

    • Lower Care Costs – For care performed within the DPC environment, there are no claims generated on the employer’s health plan, and there are no bills for members after receiving care. A review of 116 DPC practices found that the nationwide average for monthly membership fees were $77.38 per month, but can be as low as $45 per month15
    • Better Employee Health – Patients achieve superior health outcomes with DPC’s personalized service delivery. Employees enrolled in direct primary care have 59 percent fewer ER visits, are referred to specialists 62 percent less often, have 65 percent fewer radiology exams and have 80 percent fewer surgeries16
    • Better Patient Experience – Patients receive unrestricted access to physicians through multiple services. Common benefits include comprehensive primary services, such as routine care, regular checkups, preventive care, and care coordination.

ABC's of DPC

Healthcare2U | A Coast-to-Coast Healthcare Membership

Because of their core values, Direct Primary Care (DPC) memberships lay a solid foundation for health plans that want to institute real change and redefine healthcare delivery. Unfortunately, traditional DPC practices are regionally based and may not provide a complete solution for a national or mobile workforce. That is where Healthcare2U comes in.

We are a nationwide, integrated direct primary care organization that has progressed the model’s benefits and removed its limitations. Our solution believes the primary care patient-physician relationship is the foundation for healthy living and is the key to reducing costs and eliminating healthcare barriers. By providing a nationwide solution to primary care, we bring affordability, accessibility, transparency, and mobility to our members. Are you ready to redefine the delivery of healthcare for your clients? Let’s get started.

About Us

Healthcare2U is a hybrid, integrated direct primary care (DPC) organization that ensures employers of all sizes and structures have nationwide access to affordable, consistent, and quality primary care over 40% below the average cost of traditional DPC practices operating in the market today. Through our proprietary Private Physician Network (PPN)™, Healthcare2U promotes healthy living by detecting, treating, and managing acute and chronic conditions before the onset of serious illness. Healthcare2U is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and is available nationwide.


2 Kaiser Health News 
3 Gallup Poll 
4 Fierce Healthcare
5 Aristamd 
6 Forbes 
7 Kaiser Family Foundation 
8 Kaiser Family Foundation 
9 Kaiser Family Foundation 
10 The Balance 
11 NCBI 
12 CDC 
13 Kaiser Family Foundation 
14 SHRM 
16 BenefitsPro 

Caregiver Burnout: Tips for Self-Care [How to care for yourself so you can care for others]

Women are beloved for their generous nature, ability to multitask, and selfless care for others. Pouring yourself out to help others can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be taxing emotionally and physically, leading to caregiver burnout. Two out of every three women in the U.S. are caregivers to children, adults, or people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Women who are caregivers have a greater risk for poor physical and mental health, including depression and anxiety.

It’s known that providing care (informally or as a paid provider) for spouses, partners, children, other family members, friends, or neighbors can take a toll on one’s mental and physical wellbeing. Add in a global pandemic, and you have a recipe for even more stress. Studies show a whopping 40 to 70 percent of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression. About a quarter to half of these caregivers have symptoms that fall into the category of major depression.

Signs of Caregiver Stress

Women are much more likely than men to report physical symptoms of stress, including headaches and upset stomachs. Women also tend to have more mental health conditions exacerbated by stress, such as depression or anxiety.

Caregiver burnout shows up in several ways. Some of the signs of caregiver stress include:

  • Making repeated mistakes or trouble focusing
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling alone, isolated, or deserted by others
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Gaining or losing a lot of weight
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Becoming irritated or angered easily
  • Feeling worried or sad often
  • Having headaches or body aches often
  • Smoking or alcohol dependency to cope

If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these warning signs, it may be time to take action.

Effects of Stress on Women

While men and women both experience weaker immune systems, insomnia, migraines, and other harmful effects of stress, there are some ways that stress affects women more profoundly.

  • Women are more likely than men to have anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Chronic stress can lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition twice as common in women as in men.
  • The link between stress and weight gain or obesity is stronger for women than for men.
  • Women with higher levels of stress are more likely to have infertility problems than women with lower levels of stress.
  • Women with chronic stress or past abuse may have more severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms or irregular periods.

Caring for the Caregiver

By taking the necessary steps to relieve caregiver stress, you can prevent long-term health problems. Also, taking better care of yourself empowers you to care for loved ones without feeling burnt out and frustrated.

Self-Care Tips for Caregivers:

  • Find caregiving resources in your community.
  • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
  • Join a support group for caregivers.
  • Drink lots of water and eat healthily.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and substance use.

Self-Care is Important

It’s noble to help loved ones and community members navigate a crisis as a caregiver. But as you spend yourself supporting others, it’s also vital to support and care for yourself. To maintain your well-being and to continue reaping the rewards of taking care of loved ones, it’s essential to take time for yourself. Remember to maintain meaningful relationships with family and friends. And don’t forget the golden rule of primary medical care: see your doctor for regular checkups and never ignore warning symptoms in your body.

Optimal Cholesterol Levels Help Maintain Optimal Health

Cholesterol gets a lot of bad press, but it’s necessary for a healthy body. Cholesterol isn’t all good, nor is it all bad. It’s a complex matter worth knowing more about. This fat-like, waxy substance is found in every part of your body. The cholesterol levels in your blood come from two sources: the foods you eat and your liver. Your liver produces all the cholesterol your body needs.

Your body uses cholesterol to make cell membranes, vitamin D, and a number of hormones. Here are some of the vitally important functions of the six steroidal hormones derived from cholesterol:

  • Glucocorticoids aide in the metabolism of carbohydrates. The most important glucocorticoid is cortisol, a powerful adrenal hormone with anti-inflammatory properties that oppose immune hyperfunction.
  • Mineralocorticoid hormones, such as aldosterone, regulate water/electrolyte dynamics through the control of sodium and potassium.
  • Androgenic hormones like DHEA and testosterone control libido, maintain bone density and have anti-aging properties.
  • Progestagens, such as progesterone, are vital for regulating women’s menstrual cycles and gestation.
  • Estrogens, such as estradiol, are vital for sexual development and promote bone and brain health.
  • Vitamin D is technically a sterol, but functions as a steroidal hormone. It has hundreds of vital immune supporting functions and regulates calcium in the blood.

Too Much of a Good Thing

About 95 million American adults have total blood cholesterol levels of 200mg/dl and higher. Of those, approximately 28.5 million American adults have a level of 240 or above. According to the American Heart Association, having too much LDL cholesterol leads to plaque accumulation on the walls of your arteries. When this plaque builds up, it can narrow the blood vessels, straining the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

It can also cause blood clots, which can break loose and block blood flow, causing a heart attack or stroke. A healthy HDL cholesterol level can protect against heart attack and stroke, but studies show that low levels of HDL cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.

Keeping It Balanced

While heredity can play a role in cholesterol levels, you can control your cholesterol with a healthy diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. Diets high in sugar and saturated fats can amplify heart disease as can smoking. Here are some foods that can help lower cholesterol:

  • Legumes
  • Avocados
  • Fruits and Berries
  • Nuts
  • Fatty Fish
  • Whole Grains
  • Dark Chocolate and Cocoa

Doctors recommend getting your cholesterol checked every five years. Preventing heart disease is just one of many reasons it’s essential to establish a relationship with a primary care doctor you trust. Having someone to track your vital numbers and observe trends in your health can keep you on the path of wellness and save you from chronic conditions as you age.

Your healthcare provider will determine your total cholesterol and LDL goals based on other risk factors. For that reason, it’s crucial to have a full lipid profile as part of your health history.

If it’s been a while since you had your cholesterol checked, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.

Celebrating Women’s Contributions to Healthcare

In 2015, The Lancet published a report that found women contributed around $3 trillion to global healthcare, but nearly half of it (2.35% of global GDP) was unpaid and unrecognized. The report, which highlights women as both providers and as recipients of healthcare, outlines that women’s changing needs in both respects are not being met globally.

The authors concluded that gender equality and empowerment must be an integral part of the policies and interventions used to improve healthcare and human, social, and economic development in the decades to come.

This study underscored the fact that women’s distinctive contributions to society have been under-recognized and undervalued—economically, socially, politically, and culturally—for far too long. Women have held critical roles as members of the healthcare community and as caregivers in their families and communities for centuries. Here we will highlight two of these heroes and their contributions to healthcare.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler, MD (1831-1895)

In 1864, Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first African-American woman to become a doctor of medicine in the U.S. Born in Delaware in 1831, she was raised in Pennsylvania by an aunt who took care of sick neighbors. Without a formal title, her aunt acted as a doctor in their community. Crumpler was deeply inspired by her aunt and sought to attend medical school.

It was almost unheard of for women or black men to be admitted to medical schools during the 1850s. But heavy medical care demands for Civil War veterans created more opportunities for women physicians during this time. In 1860, she was accepted into the New England Female Medical College while working as a nurse. Because of her talent as a medical apprentice, Crumpler was recommended to attend the school by her supervising physician.

Of the 54,543 physicians in the U.S. at that time, only 300 were women, and none were African Americans. After beginning her practice in Boston, Crumpler moved to Richmond, Virginia. She primarily cared for poor African American women and children as well as freed slaves who were denied care by white physicians.

While working for the Freedmen’s Bureau, she experienced intense racism by both the administration and other physicians. Even though she had difficulty getting prescriptions filled and was ignored by male physicians, she persevered to provide care for as many people as she could.

Ann Preston, MD (1813-1872)

Ann Preston was an American physician, activist, and educator. Born to a Quaker family in West Grove, Pennsylvania, she grew up in a community known as a haven for escaped slaves. Preston began work as a schoolteacher and soon grew interested in teaching women about hygiene and physiology.

Policies against admitting women prevented Preston from gaining admittance to medical schools, but in 1850 she entered the Quaker-founded Female Medical College of Pennsylvania (later changed to Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1867) at the age of 38 as a student in its inaugural class.

After graduating with her medical degree in 1851, she became a professor of physiology and hygiene at the college in 1853. When the Philadelphia Medical Society barred female physicians from training in clinics, Preston helped establish a hospital where women could train. In 1866, she was appointed dean of the medical college and eventually won her students the right to train at the well-established Pennsylvania Hospital. Male students hissed and spat at the female students when they entered the surgical theater, but she remained undeterred. In response to an 1869 campaign to prevent women from studying alongside men, Preston wrote, “Wherever it is proper to introduce women as patients, there also is it but just … for women to appear as physicians and students.”

A Debt of Gratitude

The talents of men and women are both critical for the success of any society. It’s only by recognizing and celebrating the greatness of individuals, regardless of gender or ethnicity, that industries can benefit from their discoveries and innovations. From moms taking care of scraped knees to the nurses and physicians on the front lines during a global pandemic, find ways to celebrate and appreciate amazing women’s contributions to healthcare.

Healthcare for the Service Sector

Although the service sector keeps our economy going and makes our lives easier, service workers are often the lowest earners in our economy. For example in the United States, the average teacher’s salary is mid-thirty thousand to $40,000; the average automotive mechanic’s salary is $39,857; and according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average farmworker earns between $15,000 to $17,499 a year.

Here are just a view of the professions included in the service sector:

  • Housekeepers
  • Teachers
  • Restaurant staff
  • Agricultural workers
  • Mechanics
  • Hotel Staff
  • Retail workers

If you add up the average cost of living, the reason so many service workers do not have healthcare for themselves or their families comes sharply into focus. The average American spends $7,700 on groceries and eating out each year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines for a moderate budget, a family of four spends between $10,680 to $12,744 on food annually, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines.

If you’re fortunate enough to be a homeowner, the average mortgage with 10 percent down runs about $14,000 annually. The cost of rent varies by region but averages $600 to $1500 per month in the U.S., or $7,200 to $18,000 each year. That is already about $20,000 annually for food and housing alone. Add in the cost of transportation and everything else required to maintain a household, and you’ve already swallowed up the income of a large segment of those employed within the service sector.

The Cost of Healthcare

Many restaurants, retail, hotel, agricultural workers, and other service employees are not offered health benefits from their employers. For those who do have the option, some still cannot afford to enroll or utilize their health plans due to high premiums and deductibles.

A single person with employer health coverage earning an annual salary of $50,000 spends, on average, $5,250, approximately 11 percent of his income on health care. This expense includes $800 per year in out-of-pocket costs, a $1,400 premium contribution, and $3,050 in state and federal taxes to fund health programs. If a single person earning an annual salary of $50,000 enrolls in coverage on the individual market instead of through his employer, he can expect to spend 20 percent of his income on health care.

A family of four in good health with employer-sponsored coverage and earning a reasonable salary spends about 12 percent of income on healthcare. If the health of at least one family member worsens, household health spending increases to 15 percent of their income.

The Cost of Not Having Healthcare

The Institute of Medicine found that uninsured adults in the U.S. have less access to recommended care, receive poorer quality of care, and experience worse health outcomes than insured adults do.

Studies show the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases. Twenty-one percent of nonelderly adults without coverage said that they went without needed care in the past year because of the cost, compared to 4 percent of adults with private coverage and 7 percent with public coverage.

An Affordable New Solution

Unfortunately, many in the service sector do not know about direct primary care and how affordable it is for families to get the healthcare they need to maintain good health. Recently, benefits brokers nationwide have endeavored to educate service employers and employees about the benefits of DPC, such as:

  • Unlimited virtual DPC/telehealth
  • Unlimited doctor visits for low or no visit fees
  • Unlimited chronic disease management
  • Unlimited urgent care for a small fee
  • Annual physicals for no out-of-pocket cost
  • Recommendations for generic pharmaceuticals

Direct primary care (DPC) is different than health insurance for several reasons. First, it is not insurance, so there is no expensive monthly premium deducted each pay period. Second, there are no high deductibles to meet before insurance coverage kicks in. With a DPC membership, employees and their dependents pay a low monthly fee for unlimited access to primary care.

The need for healthcare is vast among those who serve us every day. The everyday heroes who keep our transportation, food, schools, and households going must be educated on their healthcare options and should be offered the benefits of affordable and convenient access to primary care.

If you’d like more information about how you can bring DPC to the service sector, contact Healthcare2U about their Minimum Essential Coverage partnership with Pan-American Life Insurance Group; or download information on their Limited Indemnity plan here