The United States leads the world in spending on health care. Yet , other countries spending substantially less than the United States have healthier populations. America’s performance is marred by deep inequalities linked to income, health insurance coverage, race, ethnicity, geography, and – critically – access to care. Employer-based Insurance plans Income The United States is the only wealthy country with no universal health insurance system. Its mix of employer-based private insurance and public coverage has never reached all Americans.
All working Americans are categorized based on annual income – top-income (earning on average $210,100 annually), higher-middle-income (earning an average of $84,800 annually), lower-middle-income earning on average $41,500), and bottom-income (earning an average of $14,800 annually) (Auguste, Laboissiere, & Mendonca, 2009). As the general population knows that those are in the both top-income category and higher-middle-income category can afford any expenses that are incurred in facilities, doctor visits, ER visits, etc.
without any hindrance (Auguste et al. , 2009). The lower-middle-income and bottom-income population have much harder time in paying for services because it puts them in a tight budget. Paying for out-of-pocket costs can be detrimental to one’s credit and often those patients are sent to collections if they can’t pay. As reported in the 2011 study done in Arizona by Herman, Rissi, and Walsh, it also confirmed that individuals who have higher incomes were able to pay for medical expenses without going through financial hardships. Cost
Its been reported that immigrants have less access to care due to having no insurance plans and the cost of services when they are sick than the general population born in the United States (Pandey, 2010). In Herman et al. ‘s study (2011), out-of-pocket medical expenses caused financial hardships and that top-income individuals were able to cover cost of medical services without hardships. It has been made known by many employers are making employees be responsible for a portion of health care costs by raising premiums or deductibles (Auguste et al. , 2009).
Because of rising costs of deductibles (out-of-pocket costs) and the rising cost of premiums, employees are opting-out of enrolling into employer-based health insurance plan saying that to get the coinsurance amount, the deductible amount that they have to meet is out of their financial budget (Quinn, 2011). Race/Ethnicity and Environment Evidence of racial and ethnic disparities in health-care is, with few exceptions, remarkably consistent across a range of illnesses and health-care services. These disparities are associated with socioeconomic differences.
Its been reported that immigrants are less likely to use the health care system yet alone have no health insurance coverage (Pandey, 2010). Its not only immigrants who have trouble getting care, but different nationalities in the United States population have trouble as well – just to name a few – American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics, populations that live in rural and urban areas, and the general population ranging from infants to senior citizens (Copeland, 2005). Especially the Hispanic or Latino population were less likely to seek care (Herman, et al. , 2011).
African American populations are the most researched when it comes to health care issues. For example, a study was done on racial disparities in exposure, susceptibility, and access to health care in the United States H1N1 Influenza pandemic which reported that Hispanics were at greater risk of exposure, however Blacks were a lot more susceptible in contracting H1N1 (Quinn, 2011). Access to Care Unequal access to health care has clear links to health outcomes. The uninsured are less likely to have regular outpatient care, so they are more likely to be hospitalized for avoidable health problems.
The lack of transportation, health insurance, providers, appointment access, and inconvenient location of doctors offices caused many people to have poor health (Copeland, 2005). In 2011, a study in Arizona was performed to see is access to care was an issue among the residents. The study found that people who were uninsured had problems paying bills which prevented the ability to seek care and receive treatment (Herman, et al. , 2011). Individuals with higher incomes were able to seek care as well as
race/ethnicity background were indicators that individuals were less likely to seek care (Herman, et al. , 2011). Conclusion Income level and race/ethnicity in relation to environment, cost of medical services, access to care, play big roles as to why there are disparities in health care insurance. References Auguste, B. G. , Laboissiere, M. , & Mendonca, L. T. (2009). How health care costs contribute to income disparity in the United States. Mckinsey Quarterly, (2), 50-51. Copeland, V. (2005). African Americans: Disparities in Health Care Access and Utilization. Health &
Social Work, 30(3), 265. Herman, P. E. (2011). Health Insurance Status, Medical Debt, and Their Impact on Access to Care in Arizona. American Journal Of Public Health, 101(8), 1437. doi:10. 2105/AJPH. 2010. 300080 Quinn, S. (2011). Racial Disparities in Exposure, Susceptibility, and Access to Health Care in the US H1N1 Influenza Pandemic. American Journal Of Public Health, 101(2), 285. doi:10. 2105/AJPH. 2009. 188029 Pandey, S. (2010). Health Insurance Disparities among Immigrants: Are Some Legal Immigrants More Vulnerable Than Others?. Health & Social Work, 35(4), 267.