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Results are In — Arizona Health Survey Data is Troubling

By | November 9, 2015

Arizona Health Survey results from 2010 still ring true today.

Back in 2010, the Arizona Health Survey reported findings that still give state residents reason for concern. The survey found that 18% of Arizonans delayed receiving recommended medical care, compared to a meager 4.3% of the national population. The survey looked into what prompted over 8,200 Arizonans, ages 18 and older, to put off or avoid getting often necessary treatment.

Insurance: Can’t Afford to Have it, Can’t Afford Not to

Along with personal reasons, many Arizonans delayed seeking healthcare because of a major medical services shortage. As of 2010, the federal government listed 96 areas in Arizona as Health Professional Shortage areas, a situation that has negatively affected much of the population.

Over 9% of Native Americans in Arizona delayed care because of difficulties associated with simply getting to the doctor’s office. Another 40% of Arizonans who identified as Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians had difficulty scheduling follow-up appointments or visits to specialists for recommended treatment because their doctors were not taking new patients at that time. Meanwhile, current data shows that roughly 30% of Native American or Alaska Natives and the Hispanic community remain uninsured.

Many others cited worries about the cost of treatment and co-pay. Those with insurance frequently face high deductibles before insurance will cover procedures, and those without it face high upfront costs regardless of how critical the treatment is.

Most troubling for Arizona, in 2010 only 16% of Arizonans were uninsured. Today, that number has increased to nearly 1 million adult Arizona residents, according to Arizona Health Matters and census data compiled by the United States Census Bureau.

Even with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Arizona residents still struggle to afford insurance. Many uninsured respondents to the 2010 survey cited high costs for coverage, claiming that changes in work status prevented them from purchasing health insurance. Additional reasons included the fragmentation of services — one healthcare package might cover doctor’s visits and not mental health services, while another may cover dental.

Negative Consequences, With Coverage and Without

When preventative medicine isn’t applied to easily treatable conditions, untreated minor health problems become major issues that require more costly intervention. And when patients are uninsured, delaying treatment because of cost can hurt both their health and their wallets. According to the 2008 National Healthcare Disparities Report, “the cumulative consequences of being uninsured compound, resulting in a population at particular risk for suboptimal health care and health.”

The Arizona Health Survey: Medical Debt in Arizona calculates the extent of patient debt to be nearly 2.3 billion dollars. Over 1/5 of Arizona’s adult population has had problems paying, or is unable to pay medical bills. Surveyees reported that their medical debt made it difficult to pay for basic necessities, including rent, and forced many of them to take out a loan or take on credit card debt to get by.

In Arizona, 3% of the population has declared bankruptcy — while this number may not seem staggering at first, the national average is only 1%. Half of Arizona filers cited extensive medical debt as a major factor in their declaration.

A New Hope

Luckily, there are solutions to this problem: you can use SingleCare in tandem with your current insurance or on its own. SingleCare offers you access to a large network of medical professionals and negotiates reduced prices for your care directly with the medical service providers.

Becoming a member is free, and will make it much easier to find a service or doctor within your area and at your price range. Patients who book appointments through SingleCare can see a reduced cost of up to 50% from what they’d pay without insurance.

SingleCare makes finding affordable health care in your area simple. It’s easy to put a number on how much you saved but the peace of mind from knowing you’re getting the care you need is priceless.

(Main image credit: DmitryLityagin/Thinkstock)