Not surprisingly to anyone that collects medical debt and has seen a significant dropoff in placement volume in recent months, but a lot of people have skipped going to the doctor or dentist in the past year because they were worried about being exposed to COVID-19, according to a recently released study.
More than 40% of adults and 29% of parents delayed medical care for themselves or their children, according to two studies that were released by the Urban Institute and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The data confirms what healthcare collection agencies have been dealing with for months and will likely be dealing with for at least a few more months to come.
Interestingly, there does appear to be a financial component to the decision to delay medical care as well. The researchers found, for example, that parents with lower incomes were more likely than those with higher incomes to delay care for their children.
Dental care was the most likely type of healthcare to get skipped during the pandemic, followed by general visits to the doctor or well-checks.
Also not surprisingly, the condition of individuals who delayed or opted not to have medical treatments generally worsened. One-third of adults said their ability to perform daily activities or work was impacted by their decision to not visit a doctor. That leads to likely financial and economic issues down the line, the researchers predicted.
“Though this study does not focus on cost, it will likely be a barrier for many people who will be ready to return to health care settings when they feel safe,” they wrote in one of the studies. “The pandemic has led to widespread negative economic impacts, and many of those most affected by the recession have also delayed or forgone care because of cost or COVID-19 concerns.”