August 17, 2010 § Leave a Comment
While health care reform is still largely yet to be implemented, the wear of the recession continues to be seen in health care utilization. It seems that as Americans continue to shoulder more of the health care costs, they have begun to use less healthcare.
An article in the Wall Street Journal reports that physician visits and hospital admissions are dropping this year, according to Thomson Reuters’ healthcare business, which surveys doctors and hospitals. Doctor visits have declined each month this year, including a 7.6% drop in May 2010 from May 2009. Likewise, hospital admissions dropped in three of the first four months of this year compared to those months last year, including being down 2.3% in April 2010 from April 2009.
The drop in usage has been reported in financial results for insurers, lab-testing companies, hospitals, pharmacies and procedures. Elective procedures are being put off. High-deductible plans are shifting costs to families. And families may be shifting visits from physicians to cheaper retail clinics for those sports physicals and flu shots.
And Moms are even delaying childbirth in response to the recession. HCA, the largest hospital chain in the U.S., reported deliveries were down 4.1% this year.
As early as last fall, more than half of moms reported that at least some of the time they have trouble paying current medical bills and have delayed medical care for themselves or their family because of cost.
And why is this a Mom issue?
- 92% of Moms are responsible for their own health care decisions.
- 65% of Moms influence health care decisions for their children.
- 59% of Moms influence health care decisions for their spouse or partner.