Research supports primary care is beneficial for patients. Yet fewer insured adults are seeking this important care. A recent study found that visits to primary care providers made by adults under the age of 65 had dropped by nearly 25% from 2008 to 2016. Furthermore, adults who went at least a year without a single visit to a primary care provider increased from about 38% to 46% in that period.
The study suggests rising out-of-pocket costs as a factor. "The average out-of-pocket cost for a visit to the doctor related to a health problem rose from about $30 to nearly $40 during the study period. And the share of primary care visits subject to a deductible jumped, too: Less than 10% in 2008, versus more than 25% in 2016."
Dr. Kimberly Rask, chief data officer at Alliant Health Solutions, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study says "There is a lot of data showing that when you raise health care costs, people will receive less care. But it doesn't mean that they only stop unnecessary care. They will reduce both necessary and unnecessary care."
I'm one of those statistics. Until recently, I hadn't seen my primary care doctor in the last few years. Thankfully, I received a good health report. However, when we wait to seek medical care, it typically ends up being more costly and more detrimental to our health. If you haven't seen your primary doctor in awhile, GO Medical encourages you to do so soon!