Thursday, October 9, 2008

Economy vs. Health Care

Everything that happens lately does so to a back beat of economic fear. As the DOW plummets and venerable banking institutions fall to pieces, there is little that is not infected in some way or other by the watchful unease (and yes, outright fear) of American eyes watching the economy as it seems to spiral down the drain.

The question before us in this blog is how does this fear of coming recession -- or if some are correct depression -- affect health care spending by the citizens of America? Simple application of logic dictates that as belts get tightened, essential routine health care expenditures would fall by the wayside. How closely does this train of logic resemble fact?

Via CIGNA press release on MarketWatch:

According to recent CIGNA surveys, about one-third of Americans say yes, the economy has changed the way they take care of themselves. Of those, 55 percent report taking better care of their health by exercising, eating healthier or getting regular check-ups and screenings, while 41 percent say they are taking worse care.

Among those who are taking worse care of themselves, more than one-third (35 percent) say they're not going to the doctor regularly or at all, while 17 percent say they're taking their medications less often or not at all. Ten percent say they can't afford to eat properly or are eating less healthy foods.
The survey goes on to point out long term cost savers built into many policies, things like regular checkups and preventative screenings. I would consider it advised reading, especially if the new austerity ends up lasting awhile.

SOURCE: "The Shaky Economy: Is it Changing the Way People Take Care of Their Health?" 10/08/08
photo courtesy of Epicharmus, used under its Creative Commons license

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