Women are often considered drivers for healthcare in their families.
Unfortunately, Kaiser Family Foundation performed a study and found that many women face cost and logistical barriers to obtaining healthcare for themselves.
“The study found that the cost of healthcare caused 26% of women to delay or go without treatment in the past year,” writes Medical Economics.
Sixty-five percent of women report delaying or forgoing treatment because they couldn’t afford it.
Even women who have insurance are struggling with the cost of healthcare. ME writes that 16% of women with private insurance and 35% of women with Medicaid blame costs for their lack of treatment.
And time isn’t on the side of women either. It’s actually more of a challenge for women than men says the study.
Twenty-three percent of women surveyed said they just didn’t have time to see a doc.
Nearly 20% frankly cannot take off time work.
And low-income women cited burdens like poor transportation and their childcare as reasons they didn’t seek out healthcare.
Eighty-two percent of women report they’ve had “well woman visits.” It’s these visits that commonly lead to deeper examinations (more or less what we’d call a routine checkup).
Fewer women, though, said their visit included discussion about additional aspects of their health.
In the past three years, 70% of women surveyed said their physicians talked to them about nutrition and diet.
Less than 50% were asked about their substance abuse, smoking, and mental health.
The study’s authors encouraged providers to work harder at connecting the gaps in wellness and preventive coverage.
They believe many women only see gynecologists in the case of reproductive care.
“A deeper focus on the content of well woman visits, along with patient education, may be needed to broaden use of clinical preventive services for women,” the study’s authors said.
Nearly 3,000 women took part in the survey that was conducted at the end of 2013. This predated the implementation of individual mandate and Medicaid expansion we saw in the first phase of the ACA. However, aspects like the expansion of preventive, wellness and maternity coverage were already in place.
The authors said the study will serve as a benchmark to the effectiveness of ACA provisions to fill coverage gaps.
“In the coming years, millions of uninsured women could gain access to coverage that includes a wide range of benefits that are important to their care,” the study’s authors said.
You know what we’re going to say about the matter. Let’s make primary care so affordable that it doesn’t make sense for a majority of people NOT to obtain access. If people pay the bare minimum that keeps docs lights on then something happens. Docs WANT to offer more healthcare. When they want to offer more healthcare they ask a woman during her gynecological visit what else they can help her with.
You want to know why?
It’s easy. That doctor WANTS more patients. And they’re only going to get more patients by practicing more medicine, and better medicine.
Sure, this vision isn’t immediately realistic.
But ask yourself a question: Do primary care doctors who see more patients AND offer better care actually get any additional compensation?
In most cases, no, they don’t. More patients means more paperwork. Spending time actually asking OB-GYN patients about their exercise habits means the doctor will do more paperwork to maybe get paid more.
In many cases, if the doc does this, they probably won’t get paid.
Yes, primary care, and cash-only primary care specifically, are niche aspects of healthcare. But this facet illustrates a glaring inconsistency: We are far from any logical motivator of doctor behavior.
No wonder we keep running studies and finding disappointing results.