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It Costs Too Much to Bring Kids to the Doctor

It Costs Too Much to Bring Kids to the Doctor

Kids are getting shortchanged on medical care due to cost. Even among parents who have insurance, the high cost of health care is keeping them from taking their children to the doctor, according to a new study.

For this study, researchers wanted to see what affects a family’s decision to put off or go without medical care. They included the cost of health care in relation to the family’s income, and having a child with physical, social, behavioral, or cognitive limitations.

Families with health insurance are not immune to the rising costs of health care, and still face the burdens of premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.

The study was led by Lauren E. Wisk, a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the School of Medicine and Public Health at University of Wisconsin, Madison, who examined data from 6,273 families with at least one child.

“It Costs Too Much to be Healthy”
In a press release, Wisk said:

“Every U.S. family has a finite amount of resources available to them, and every day they have to make decisions about how to allocate those resources. This is especially true in today’s economy where you hear people talk about ‘feeling the pinch.’ This study shows the unfortunate reality of the situation. Families aren’t choosing to spend their money on going to the doctor when someone is sick because of how much it cost them to see the doctor last time. They’re sacrificing their health because it costs too much to be healthy.”

Results indicated that an excessive financial burden, having a child with ongoing activity limitation, and a parent with intermittent insurance all raised the chances that a family would delay or go without needed medical care. When the child and parent had the same insurance, they were more likely to get the medical care they needed.

“Excessive financial burden” was defined as insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health care expenses exceeding 10 percent of family income. “Delayed or forgone care” was defined as putting off or going without medical care or prescription medications for a parent or child due to cost and/or insurance-related reasons.

Families with an income less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level were more apt to delay or forgo care than families with an income at or above 400 percent of the poverty level.

Cost of Health Care “Causing Americans to be Sicker”
The study concluded that reducing the occurrence of delayed or forgone care may improve health outcomes by increasing the opportunity to receive timely and preventive care. More research is planned.

Wisk cautioned:

“We expect that if people aren’t getting the care they need, they’ll be sicker as a result. When you put this all together and look at the big picture, the cost of health care in the U.S. could actually be causing Americans to be sicker.”

Source: Pediatric Academic Societies

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46 comments

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1:28AM PDT on May 12, 2011

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Thing is, the far right wants to cut funding to help families with children get the medical care they need.

3:48AM PDT on May 9, 2011

well here's one thing that i had discovered a couple of months back: we can be healthy without having to pay so much. all we have to do is find a CERAGEM center nearest our locale. this is for real, and it's for everybody.

3:57PM PDT on May 6, 2011

SUE GRIFFITHS. UK.
I think it's disgusting that families are put in the situation of not being able to take their kids to their doctors because of the expense. It's like living in a 3rd world country. Here in the UK, our National health service is not perfect by any means. It's overstretched what with the population living longer and needing expensive surgeries. Also smokers, alcohol/ drug abusers and obesity is taking its toll. But for all that, nobody has to pay anything, ( unless they choose to go private for cosmetic reasons). I just couldn't imagine going to the doctors and paying. This feels so alien. Children have dental treatment free, and for the over 60's, dental and eyetests are free. Here in Wales all prescriptions are free. (Not sure about England). For people over 60, travel on buses is free too. So a trip to the doctors by bus doesn't cost anything. This is paid for by national insurance stamps that every working person has deducted from their salary every week/month. I just think this is so civilised and I thank God I live in the UK. We are very proud of our National health service which was started by Aneurin Bevan in 1948, born out of a long- held ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth and would serve from Cradle to Grave.

6:07AM PDT on May 6, 2011

This is so true. The cost of the visit, tests, and then the prescriptions costs can pose a really big problem to people who live paycheck to paycheck.

10:05PM PDT on May 5, 2011

I have difficulty walking now because of an untreated foot injury that occured in my childhood in the 60s. My parents couldn't afford to take me to the doctor. Here we are, nearly 5 decades later, and the health of children is still not considered a national priority. It's sad to see how little has changed.

3:01AM PDT on May 5, 2011

It should not ever cost anything for a child to get healthcare!!!!

6:36PM PDT on May 4, 2011

Time to get adopted by someone in Europe OR Canada.
They think we are insane invading and rebuilding countries while their own citizens cannot afford or have to skip medical services.We are such fools in the USA.

8:36AM PDT on May 4, 2011

a recent study was done on child abuse, and the shocking stats claim that women are abusing children far more often than men. if one reads the study though, you can see that neglect is lumped in with physical assault, and medical neglect is the largest part of that. what it means is that a parent can't afford to take a child in for dentist or doctor visits, and so is written up as an abuser. women are by far and away the sex that represent single parents. they abuse children less than men, but this study claims they are worse.
women also receive 25% less for doing the same job, and are often denied access to higher paying jobs due to their sex.
none of this is related in the study; misogynists have been crowing about these findings that "prove" women are far more abusive than men.
the truth is that as a single parent, women are put in the worst position possible - much less pay, no support, and the expectation that they should never need it. the pure hateful greed of the medical and insurance system is the main cause of these types of medical neglect. when going in for a check up costs four hundred dollars for two kids, not counting drugs, mothers are put in the position of having to decide whether to feed the kids, or get them their booster shots.
it is horrific, really.
and all the blame falls on the mom.

6:22AM PDT on May 4, 2011

Christina E. and others i came across really harsh , i should have said that when you become a parent you better be ready to expect the unexpected. as my mom would say you didnt come with directions or a warrenty so be prepared for the good and bad . sorry for being a ass wasnt trying to do this but theres to many people having kids and not wanting to be a real parent.

4:00AM PDT on May 4, 2011

Oh John and Tamara - were it only that easy...you do realize that insurance premiums that skyrocket (mine just increases 28% last month), a tanked economy resulting in 5 candidates for every 1 job available, not to mention a health care system that rewards acute episodic care as opposed to prevention are huge factors that have affected millions of folks here in the US? None of these events are even possible to "plan for", and, unfortunately, are positionrd to mostly impact the working poor. Your assertions that people should somehow predict their future is absurd and short sided.

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