Health insurance has been established as a mode of protecting individuals from financial burdens that could emerge from serious injury or illness. While some Americans obtain insurance policies through their employers, others rely on the government funded healthcare plans that include Medicare, Medicaid, as well as Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The number of Americans who have not registered for any healthcare insurance has remained relatively high. The Apalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an area that covers 205,000-square mile, and stretch from southern New York towards the Northern region of Mississippi along the Appalachian Mountains. Government funded health insurance programs that were instituted to aid individuals in need by offering health care coverage. Medicare was executed in 1965 to offer coverage to people aged 65 years and above or those considered disabled. On the other hand, Medicaid was started to offer healthcare coverage to individuals who lived below 400% of the national poverty level.
Many Americans who have not been able qualify for either Medicaid or Medicare felt relieved after the signing of Affordable Care Act (ACA) by president Obama in 2010. ACA was implemented to offer additional healthcare coverage to millions of Americans who have been carrying the burden of uncompensated healthcare. The Appalachian are among the uninsured individuals, although most of them suffer from chronic illnesses that are often overlooked. The lack of insurance has made the Appalachians turn to ER for medical attention, but in most cases, they leave healthcare facilities with billions of dollars of uncompensated care. The economic and social structure of the Appalachians has created a barrier in terms of health insurance.
This research paper has been a mixture of both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. The researcher collected the data using primary sources, as well as secondary sources. The first-hand data was collected through interviews and recording information and the sample was gathered from the rural Appalachians. The questionnaire incorporated real questions as well as the statement of the problem. Additionally, a sample population was gathered from the non-Appalachians area to offer a control experiment. The statistical analysis was undertaken on the data to reveal the correlation and regression values. The results indicated that the residents of Appalachians were at a greater risk of suffering from chronic illnesses, poverty, the lack of insurance coverage, and limited healthcare access than the non-Appalachians. The average income in Appalachians households is quite lower than the average income of all Americans. The Appalachian region covers 13 states, and out of the 13 states, 6 have an uninsured rate of above 12%. Besides, eight out of ten of the uninsured families belong to the category of those below 400% poverty line. The death rate in Appalachian region is quite higher than in non-rural Appalachian regions. Chronic diseases, particularly diabetes is relatively high in Appalachian regions than non-Appalachian regions. Some of the barriers of healthcare insurance include rough terrain that blocks access to health care services and costly medical services in private health facilities.
In conclusion, the financial burden to uninsured Americans, particularly in Appalachian region, has been quite heavy, considering that they are poor. Such people receive little or no attention while in emergency room. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 12.1% of patients who visited emergency room were non-urgent. Diabetes has been a widespread chronic illness among patients from rural Appalachia, but only 55% of diabetic patients visited the Emergency Room.