Despite the shrinking pool of uninsured in Maryland, poverty and low income continue to prevent many from receiving quality healthcare.
Though controversy continues to surround it, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is successfully driving more people to get insured in the state of Maryland. As of 2013, there were a reported 738,000 uninsured Marylanders, according to NESRI — if current application rates for coverage continue, experts project that this number will sink to around 382,000 by 2020, as Urban Institute reports.
While these predictions are positive, Maryland’s current state of health is far from perfect. One in seven Marylanders still don’t have health insurance, and another 45% have reported forgoing the care recommended to them by their physicians because of its high associated costs.
Underinsured residents, nearly half the population, are suffering the most in Maryland’s still-developing healthcare infrastructure. 66% of the state’s underinsured have reported skipping dental care, and 42% risk missing out on crucial preventative treatments by skipping regular check-ups. But perhaps the most concerning of all is that 41% decided not to refill a prescription because of high costs.
Luckily, there are some indicators that some of the chronic health problems the state has experienced in the past are abating, particularly in its largest city. Baltimore reported a 23% drop in premature deaths from 2004-2012, according to the Baltimore Sun, the largest decline in the nation for any major metropolitan area.
Additionally, announcing its recent acquisition of another medical care site, the University of Maryland Medical System also announced it will offer Medicare Advantage plans to seniors. Both University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Hospital, the world-renowned medical center, will begin offering these plans to senior citizens by early 2016.
The medical community in Baltimore as a whole seems to have benefited economically from the new healthcare system — the University of Maryland Medical System, for example, recently achieved a multi-million operating surplus, as Modern Healthcare reports. Maryland hospitals want to hire 1,000 more workers, which could help to both improve the state of care in Maryland and reduce the poverty rate. Furthermore, the Minority Health office received $1 million in grants this year, the largest amount it has ever received, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently founded a program called Institute for a Healthiest Maryland, devoted to driving down obesity, tobacco use, and hypertension — three of the most dire indicators of poor health. Part of the Institute’s approach is to encourage businesses to provide more and better health insurance to their employees.
While these are all great strides in medical care, medical coverage remains an issue. Two in five Marylanders report struggling to pay for their medical bills, and 26% are already in debt to care providers and insurers. This is a problem that persists far beyond state lines: nationwide, 62% of all bankruptcies resulted from unmanageable hospital bills, and 31% of households reported at least one member getting more seriously ill after delaying medical care to avoid prohibitive costs.
SingleCare Can Help
Better healthcare coverage is coming to Maryland. Great strides are being made to ensure that every Marylander from Ocean City to Cumberland can afford medical care when they need it. While complete coverage in the Old Line State may take some time, SingleCare can bridge the gaps in coverage..
With SingleCare’s network of doctors, dentists, and mental health professionals, members can see a 45% cut to the cost of procedures like dental check-ups. In SingleCare’s pharmacy network, members save up to 75% off of prescriptions’ retail prices. Don’t delay getting the healthcare you need today — join SingleCare and get the medical attention and peace of mind you deserve. Plus, with SingleCare, you only pay for the care you need.
(Main image credit: Davidge Hall/Wikimedia)