Access to Health Insurance, Access to Better Health by Akhil Golla

Deductions. Premiums. Copays. Out of pocket. In-network. Out-of-network...

These words are threatening to look at, and even more difficult trying to understand. However, I find myself uttering them continuously throughout the day(and sometimes in my sleep) as my patients come to me with worried eyes. Health insurance, in general, is a very intimidating topic. But as a insurance specialist at Health Center 2, I strive to make health insurance understandable and accessible to the patients I serve.

In a country where health expenses are so high, understanding them could mean the difference between getting affordable treatment and medical bankruptcy. Preventative care and early detection methods are the best tools for keeping patients healthy and keeping their healthcare expenses low. However, the terminology of insurance becomes so complicated to my patients that it deters them from seeking important preventative services because they fear the financial repercussions. Personally, I understand it. Just a few months back, I barely had a clue of how the insurance system worked. Fear of the unknown and complicated terminology kept me distanced from the healthcare system, even though I knew it was such an important topic to understand. It was only through my service that I could learn about the system and appreciate it. I feel by learning the jargon, I took autonomy back into my own hands. I now feel like I can make decisions about my own health, and that is what I wish to help my patients do. 

With this in mind, I try to educate each and every one of my patients on the topic of health insurance. Most days of service include me going over a checklist I made of the above terms with my patients so they could understand their best personal options. Some even come to me without health insurance plans offered through their jobs and ask me to help them decide what would be the best for their family. It is incredibly satisfying service, and I love seeing my my patients take control of health. Patients use this knowledge to seek more preventative services, visit their providers more often, and improve their overall quality of life. With knowledge comes choice, and with choice comes a healthier life.