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Navigating the Social Determinants of Care: Lack of Access to Affordable Healthcare

Introduction to Determinants of Health from Lack of Quality Healthcare

In the third part of our series on social determinants of care, we discussed the barriers that come from a lack of education. In this fourth part, we discuss the barriers that come from lacking access to healthcare services. This also includes lacking access to affordable, timely, and high-quality care, which can worsen health outcomes [1].

Statistics on Healthcare Access in the US

In 2022, about 92.1% had health insurance at some point during the year, and most got it from their employer [2]. However, a survey showed that over 70% of adults don’t feel their healthcare needs are being met [3]. Furthermore, 61% reported that they considered lack of affordability to be one of the biggest barriers to accessing care [3]. Additionally, only 27% of responders felt that all their healthcare needs were met [3]. Furthermore, 31% reported that it takes too long to get an appointment, and 26% reported that healthcare-related costs burdened their family’s finances [3]. Moreover, 44% reported skipping or delaying services in the past two years [3]. This might be because almost half of insured adults are worried about how they’re going to afford their insurance premiums [4]. These statistics are concerning because although most people have health insurance, it doesn’t seem like they have access to affordable care.

Lack of Access to Affordable Healthcare Worsens Health

Lack of access to healthcare can worsen health outcomes and act as a social determinant of care. For one, those who don’t have access to health care often delay care. This can range from preventative screenings and check-ups to missing out on needed surgeries and therapies. Furthermore, patients who miss out on early interventions because they cannot afford care will also not be able to afford it when their conditions reach advanced stages, making it even harder to manage. This is especially true for those who have chronic diseases. For instance, chronic conditions require extensive access to medications, routine check-ups, and multiple healthcare specialists. Therefore, those who don’t have insurance, and those who don’t have affordable insurance won’t be able to manage their conditions without financial burden.

Additionally, patients may choose to opt out of emergency care, which can be crucial in critical situations such as heart attacks or strokes. Some may even opt out of getting an ambulance because they’re afraid of the costs. Therefore, it’s important to note that although uninsured people have difficulty accessing care, insured patients can also struggle with affording care.

Supporting Patients Who Lack Access to Affordable and Quality Healthcare

Although it’s important that everyone has access to insurance, it’s also important that all those with insurance can still access healthcare services. This means providing patients with resources like free clinics, government assistance programs, and even sliding-scale payment options. Furthermore, it’s important to emphasize the importance of preventative care. Patients must understand that it’s better to obtain screenings and regular check-ups when recommended to prevent more expensive complications later on. Doctors can also lessen these barriers by promoting telemedicine to lower transportation and healthcare costs. Furthermore, healthcare professionals need to collaborate with community organizations, which often have access to more affordable services. Sometimes they can even help with providing transportation and health literacy services.

Overall, healthcare providers must be aware that not all patients can afford the care. One of the most important things they can do is to take the time and understand their patient’s concerns. Only then can doctors guide patients in the right direction and connect them with the resources they need. This can be done by fostering open communication and collaborating with patients. The end goal should be for all patients to have equitable access to quality care, regardless of their financial status.


HITS provides healthcare management services & works with doctors to develop health informatics tools that promote safe and secure care. We take pride in our services and settle for nothing other than 100% quality solutions for our clients. Having the right team assist with data sharing is crucial to encouraging collaborative and secure care. HITS also focuses on transforming health care by analyzing integrated medical solutions and evaluating information systems. Our goal is to enhance individual and population health outcomes, improve patient care, and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship.


  1. https://health.gov/healthypeople/objectives-and-data/browse-objectives/health-care-access-and-quality 
  2. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2023/demo/p60-281.html
  3. https://health.gov/healthypeople/priority-areas/social-determinants-health/literature-summaries/access-health-services 
  4. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/americans-challenges-with-health-care-costs/
Categories: Health Equity,