Access to affordable, high quality healthcare is something that many Americans take for granted. The disparities in our healthcare system can be hard to see, but health inequity is all around us. Minority groups in the U.S. routinely face more challenges when trying to secure good, or even adequate, healthcare. And, when they are able to access care, those hurdles typically end up costing them more in the end.
Just look at the shocking differences in infant mortality between White and Black folks in the U.S. Per every 1000 live births, 10.8 Black children die as compared to 4.6 White children. While there are many factors that play into this, this statistic demonstrates just how differently our healthcare system treats non-White people, and is indicative of a larger pattern that can only be explained by looking at the Social Determanients of Health (SDH).
Race isn’t the only critical factor when determining the unfair hierarchy of how our healthcare system treats Americans. Research shows that LGBTQ status has long been a statistical indicator of poorer health outcomes and unequal treatment by the healthcare system. LGBTQ individuals primarily face oppression and discrimination from many differenet directions in their lives, and access to quality healthcare is no exception.
According to the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), LGBTQ individuals routinly face “legal discrimination in access to health insurance, employment, housing, marriage, adoption, and retirement benefits,” and a “shortage of health care providers who are knowledgeable and culturally competent in LGBT health.”
Sometimes because of this same discrimination, LGBTQ populations have extremely high rates of tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use, further decreasing health outcomes and increasing the need for care. Deadly chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and HIV/STDs are all higher than average in these populations, all of which require more treatment and care.
Disparities in Health Insurance Coverage
A huge proportion of the overall worse outcomes that non-white and LGBTQ people face is due to lack of health insurance. Quality health insurance does a lot of different things. One of the most important factors in determining overall health outcomes is routine use of preventative measures. Remaining healthy is hard and expensive work, but it turns out that not developing a chronic illness is far less expensive than dealing with one for the rest of your life.
For many people, most of the total cost is on the front end, with practices like regular health screenings, consistent doctors appointments, healthy diets, and routine dental care. This stuff is extremely expensive if you don’t have health insurance, verging on impossible to afford for most folks. Studies show that uninsured adults are far less likely to regularly receive these services or practice these healthy lifestyles than insured adults.
How Can We Help?
We can find ways to get more non-white and LGBTQ folks insured. Even the most basic health insurance radically increases outcomes for individuals, both financially and otherwise. Of course, this is harder than it sounds. Although rates of health insurance among non-white and LGBTQ communities have risen since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, rates of adoption have plateaued since 2016, and in some cases have seen a slight fall.
While government health programs have shown to help, a number of southern states have refused to expand their Medicaid programs to include a higher number of low-income families and individuals. Caught in this state/federal government stalemate, there have to be more ways to further expand access to healthcare in the U.S.
Making Healthcare More Affordable
medZero’s mission is to make healthcare more equitable and accessible for all, especially those who have been treated unfairly by the system in the past. It’s time to revolutionize the American healthcare system by finding inventive new ways to bring down costs, and allow people to pay what they can afford to. Good healthcare should be a staple, not a luxury reserved for the upper middle class and up.
medZero operates on the belief that everyone deserves an equitable chance to get the best care possible, at the lowest cost. When we realized that so many Americans were going into debt because of healthcare related loans due to poor insurance or lack of insurance, we decided to develop a new approach.
Our solution is designed to help out the 40% of employees who report a problem in paying their medical bills, by allowing them to pay over time with 0% interest. This approach also encourages people to get preventative care when they need it, improving outcomes and lessening the strain that caring for preventable chronic conditions takes on the entirety of the healthcare system.
Non-white and LGBTQ Americans deserve the same access to healthcare as everyone else in the U.S., and at this moment are clearly not getting it. medZero supports those who aren’t able to afford quality healthcare, and hopes to enable them to pay for bills that might otherwise lead to bankruptcy. While different groups face different SDH and other factors that prevent them from getting the care that they need, medZero is proud to be able to provide everyone with a framework to lessen the load.
medZERO is unlocking a smarter way for employees to pay for care. Find out how.