COVID-19 has put a lot of things on hold, but there is one important task that should not be on hold… That is, going to the doctor for preventive care services and routine checkups. Throughout the pandemic, many people have not felt safe going into a hospital or doctors office to see their doctors. A recent study by the Cleveland Clinic found that 85% of Americans avoided going to the doctor because of concern about contracting the virus. This avoidance results in individuals with underlying medical conditions — such as hypertension and chronic heart disease — not going to the doctor even if they are experiencing harmful symptoms.
According to a recent CDC study, 54.7% of individuals with two or more underlying medical conditions have avoided primary care visits during the pandemic. This could leave individuals wandering down a slippery slope. A patient might think, “I have missed one appointment; what will one more hurt?” It is thoughts like these that could lead to certain individuals with underlying health conditions to miss warning signs about potentially serious health problems. Instead of paying a small fee for a medical checkup at their primary care physician, patients could be at risk of taking a hospital trip resulting in more money coming out of their pockets.
This trend could have a tremendous impact on the healthcare industry regarding claims. With individuals not partaking in regular checkups and preventive care services, it could lead to a larger number of emergency medical claims than usual. Traditional preventive care services such as colonoscopies and mammograms have seen a sharp decrease throughout the pandemic. A study conducted by Health Care Cost Institute reported that routine colonoscopies are down nearly 90%. Mammograms and cervical cancer tests are down about 80%. These preventive care services help individuals catch different diseases earlier — and these numbers are massive. By detecting the disease earlier, thousands of dollars can potentially be saved for the individual, as well as the company and carrier. Many times, the later you catch the disease, the worse it gets, which requires more treatment and more doctors’ visits, leading to an increase in claims filed to insurance carriers.
Luckily for you, this doesn’t have to be the case. While it’s always a good idea to call your primary care doctor if you are experiencing troubling health symptoms (whether or not you have underlying health issues), you might not have to go to the office to see your doctor. With the surge in insurance carriers accepting telemedicine visits as an extension of an in-person visit, you could only have to pay a small co-pay for these telemedicine visits. It just makes sense. Take preventive measures now to save money later. If you would rather go in and see your doctor in person, you can always call their office to see what kind of protective measures have been put in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The bottom line is, make sure you are staying up to date with your routine health checkups and preventive services. It could save you and your wallet a lot of hurting!
Published By: Jeffrey Duvic