Health clinics are becoming more common in the US
The number of retail health clinics in the United States is growing and this may be having an effect on the overall spending on medical services throughout the country. A new study published in Health Affairs suggests that the belief that low-cost clinics would lead to less health care spending may be inaccurate. These clinics are designed for those without health insurance coverage and those that are underinsured, existing as a way for these people to acquire the medical care that they need.
Study highlights the growing medical spending being caused by frequent clinic visits
The study shows that clinics have caused a significant increase in the overall use of medical services. Many consumers have begun to use these services in order to keep themselves healthy and address health issues they have. The issue, however, is that these clinics are not necessarily less expensive than visiting a medical professional in the long run. Instead, “telehealth” and “e-visit” services may actually be less expensive options that still provide consumers with access to medical consultancy.
Clinics are more convenient for consumers that need medical services
The convenience of clinics is linked to increased spending. While clinics themselves may not be expensive, consumers tend to visit these facilities more often. Clinics are often located in retail stores, which provides them with a degree of accessibility that is not present in conventional medical services. According to the study, more than 6 million people visit these clinics every year. Generally, the services provided by these clinics is covered by health insurance plans.
Clinics may have some impact on insurance premiums in the future
While clinics may be less expensive than visiting a doctor’s office or the emergency room, the frequency with which consumers are visiting these clinics is leading to more health care spending. This may be a problem for insurers, who are covering the cost of clinical services. Whether or not this will have an effect in insurance premiums in the future is unclear. An increase in health care spending can sometimes translate into financial losses for insurers, which can affect the future cost of insurance policies.