Staying up-to-date on doctor’s appointments can be critical to consumers’ overall well-being, but the price tag that can come with those visits may make it difficult to prioritize healthcare.
According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg, excess charges that are associated with healthcare can prohibit many young people from seeing their physicians as often as they should.
How costs can affect healthcare
This Swedish study included over 73,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 22, all of whom are required to start paying a copay for healthcare visits starting at the age of 20, before which there is no charge for doctor visits of any kind.
The researchers evaluated how often the young people involved in the study visited their primary care physicians both before and after their 20th birthdays to determine how the fees associated with their healthcare affected their likelihood of making future appointments.
The study revealed that both gender and income play a role in the frequency of doctors’ visits, as women and those who make less money were more likely to skip the doctor once the copay kicked in.
While men’s trips to the doctor didn’t change much statistically between their 19th and 20th birthdays, the study revealed that trips to the doctor dropped over nine percent among women at the same juncture in life. However, women in the lowest income bracket dropped off on their doctors’ visits the most, with 14 percent fewer healthcare consultations after their 20th birthdays.
The researchers hope that the findings from this study provide insight into how healthcare systems, and their associated costs, can affect young people and their likelihood of staying up-to-date on their doctors’ visits.