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2020 Will End Eventually

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We are not even halfway through the year, but most of us could agree that 2020 has already been filled with enough uncertainty, unrest, and fear to last a whole lifetime. COVID-19 and its resulting economic shutdown has led to millions of people being laid off from their work, which has disrupted their health insurance status among many other things. To put a number on this disaster, a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that 27 MILLION people have recently lost health insurance, due to layoffs stemming from the pandemic1. The report suggested that roughly 20 million of these people should be able to acquire insurance through Medicaid and other health insurance marketplaces, but that still leaves 6-7 million people going uninsured—during a global pandemic.  

There are so many things to be stressed out about in June of 2020. I haven’t mentioned the Black Lives Matter protests that have captured the attention of the world over. The panic associated with not being able to afford healthcare during this COVID pandemic, which has robbed the sources of income and security from millions of people, simply shouldn’t be an added stressor during an already anxiety-riddled time. Speaking of anxiety, it’s not surprising to hear that the rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health crises have risen sharply during the age of COVID.

Recent survey results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that close to one-third of Americans reported recent symptoms of depression and anxiety2. It’s almost as if the compounding nature of a pandemic, with its sickness and death, combined with social distancing restrictions, layoffs, a deteriorating economy, and now large-scale protests against structured racism, has all resulted in far more Americans facing mental health problems.

Go figure.

While there’s no easy fixing when it comes to taking action against racism or moving past this pandemic, we need to do all that we can to help mitigate the added stress that the year 2020 has given us. If you’ve lost health insurance due to layoffs or for any other reason, you should think carefully about your next actions. While direct primary care through Exemplar Care is something that you should consider, all Americans should carry health insurance for the event of an emergency or an unexpected medical need. The Kaiser study mentioned above found that nearly 13 million of the newly uninsured people are eligible for Medicaid, while an additional 8 million people are eligible for subsidized plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. If you’re lucky enough to fall into these categories, you should act quickly because certain health insurance options have only 60 days of availability after a life event, such as a layoff. Time Magazine recently published a great article for people to review their options in the event of becoming newly uninsured.

We’re learning first-hand that the U.S. health insurance system, in which employers provide the vast majority of Americans with their health insurance, wasn’t well-prepared for a global pandemic and its mass layoffs. People need access to healthcare now more than ever before.

At Exemplar Care, Dr. Van Der Veer provides expert health care directly for patients, and at an affordable and transparent cost; no copays or deductibles. His loyalties exist with the patient and no one else—the patients are the people signing his paycheck, instead of a hospital or insurance company. Initial consultations are complimentary and there’s no obligation whatsoever.

Stay safe out there, everyone. The dark days of 2020 will end eventually.

Gabe Conley,

MD/MBA candidate

Works cited:

  1. Simmons-Duffin, S. (2020, June 09). Millions Of Americans Have Lost Health Insurance As Unemployment Soars.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020, May 26). Mental Health Household Pulse Survey.

 

 

Author
Gabe Conley MD/MBA Candidate at The University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine and Tippie College of Business

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