Thursday, September 11, 2014

Study Finds Americans Have One of the Lowest Doctor Visitation Rates

Americans Dont Like Visiting the Doctor

How often do you pay your doctor a visit? Depending on your nationality, this question can have wildly different answers. On average, an American visits the doctor four times a year, substantially less than in other countries. In Japan, people usually go to their doctor 13 times a year. 
Why? It isn't so much a case of being scared of the doctor, it really boils down to price and trying to save a few extra bucks. Healthcare is outrageously expensive in the United States. As opposed to Germany, doctors earn a service fee in America- every service provided to the patient ranging from a prescription for a cold knee replacement surgery requires that fee.
It isn't just the price of the doctor's consultation driving patients away. Everything related to healthcare is expensive, way more expensive than in comparable countries. Take the price of Nexium, for example, a heartburn medication. Its average price in the United States is $215 dollars- in Spain, it's just $58. Even though it might give you relief from heartburn, as long as you're American it's sure to burn a hole through your wallet as well (Forbes, 2014).
Americans visit doctors and specialists more readily than some other countries, such as Canada and France, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based health policy foundation. Eighty percent of Americans who needed to see a specialist were seen in less than four weeks, trailing the results in only Germany and Switzerland. In Canada, the number was 41 percent.
The survey, published online in Health Affairs, also found that the United States fell behind seven other countries in both the percentage of adults who can see a doctor or nurse the same day they needed care- 57 percent of adults- and the percentage that had to wait six days or more to see a health care professional- 19 percent. Only Canada, Norway and Sweden did not score higher than the United States in those categories. 
In addition, 1 in 3 American adults skipped a doctor visit, did not fill a prescription or get other care in the past year because it cost too much, according to the survey. More Americans skipped care because of cost than adults in any other of the countries surveyed. 
Twenty percent of Americans said they had a serious problem paying their medical bills in the previous year, the highest percentage of any of the countries. Second was France, with 9 percent. A higher proportion of Americans also spent more than $1,000 out-of-pocket for health care and experienced problems with their health insurance, including disputes over bills (KHN, 2010). 
*Forbes: Americans Visit Their Doctor 4 Times A Year. People in Japan Visit 13 Times A Year- Niall McCarthy, September 4th, 2014
*Kaiser Health News: Compared to Other Countries, U.S. Patients Have More Access To Specialists, Less TO Primary Care