I recall an instance when a patient came into the emergency room with a complaint of a large lump that had been growing under their arm for years. They were diagnosed that visit with terminal cancer that had since spread to various parts of their body.
This individual lacked health care coverage that would have enabled regular health visits to a primary care doctor. I imagine that sooner evaluation of the mass by a physician would have lead to earlier diagnosis, and the potential treatment of a cancer whose spread may have been prevented.
I know both patients and family members who have delayed seeking care for a health problem due to concern over how they would pay for those services. These are valid concerns. Health care costs and pharmaceuticals can be very high and, too often, are a barrier to individuals seeking care.
We need to fix what is wrong with our current, flawed system. Until then, we ought to empower ourselves by becoming aware of what options we do in fact have at this time.
If you are currently insured, fantastic. Be sure to utilize your benefits. Take note of the fine print, detailing your deductibles, copayments and physician options.
Read the full column in SDGLN Media Partner, Gay San Diego, HERE.