How to Improve Community Health By Reaching the Uninsured
Health insurance continues to be one the of the hot button issues facing Americans today. During the past several years, we have seen a massive attempt to extend insurance coverage to previously uninsured populations. While the Affordable Care Act has been successful in some of its endeavors, it has been resisted by legislators in many regions of the American south and has been unpopular among some for contributing to rises in healthcare premiums.
Despite extending coverage access to people with pre-existing conditions, those who did not have healthcare through an employer, and those who could simply not afford it on their own, a number of states chose not to accept federal healthcare subsidies through the expansion of state-level Medicaid. The result is what is known as the “Medicaid Gap”.
In states like Tennessee, the result is that the poorest of the poor (from 0-38% of the Federal Poverty Level) and those just above the poverty level (from 100% to 138% of the FPL are able to receive federal subsidies. But those making from 39% to 99% of the FPL receive nothing. Tennessee is an example of a state that offers additional coverage to parents of children under the age of 18. In the end, tens of thousands of poor older adults (with income of 39%-99% of the FPL, with no children or with adult children) are unable to receive healthcare subsidies.
In the uncertain coming days for American healthcare, it is important for community health initiatives like clinics and health fairs to understand who is in greatest need in their communities, and how to provide the resources best suited to them. Hanson Medical Systems has been doing this a long time. We have some helpful suggestions.
- POC Tests. Not everyone has access to an onsite clinic at a workplace. Some of these same people won’t have a primary care physician. POC tests are fast ways to give patients a lot of information about their health, without costing them a dime. Hanson Medical Systems’ POC tests are intended to give actionable results fast, with or without the help of healthcare financial aid.
- Advertise in the Right Places. At-risk populations will vary by state and region. It is important to learn who has the fewest healthcare options, then reach them where the live. Local newspapers, charities, churches, and event centers are good places to increase awareness about local health initiatives aimed at community health.
- Be a Connector. No health fair is a one-stop shop for healthcare. When your POC tests make patients aware of health problems, help them plan steps with other local, affordable healthcare providers to help fix their problems. Without access to a network of affordable care, POC tests won’t be part of a practical healthcare solution.
Hanson Medical Systems has been working to provide health care knowledge to workplaces, communities and individuals for many years. We have seen many iterations of the American healthcare landscape, and we have learned to adapt to each one. If you work in community health, it is important to be vigilant during this uncertain time in American healthcare history. Changes will come, and communities must have help to respond to them.