Recent studies outline that at least half the world lacks access to essential health services. The number of people that need health services is growing which shows there is a vital need for universal health coverage.
Here are three reasons why there’s a need for universal health coverage:
1) Health for All
Recent reports by the World Health Organization show that roughly 3.8 million people lack access to basic health care. A large percentage of households are being pushed into poverty due to the need to pay for health care out of their own pockets, forcing them to survive on $1.90 or less a day. As of last year, reports show that 800 million people spend 10 percent of their household income or more on health expenses for themselves or their family members.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyseus, director-general of the World Health Organization said in a statement, “Universal health coverage allows everyone to obtain health services they need, when and where they want them, without facing financial hardship.”
2) World’s Population is Growing
With more than 7 billion people on the planet, the population is expanding at a rate faster than ever before. More and more people will therefore need basic access to health care. Issues, such as pollutants and people living in close proximity to one another, contribute to depriving a number of people to health care services. With the demand placed on services higher than the supply, social structures supporting huge urban populations find themselves under great strain.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K., for example, currently deals with more than 1 million patients every 36 hours. Not only is there a strain on patient care due to the constant growth of the world’s population, the pressure extends further to supply and demand for items, such as medical supplies, protective equipment and drug treatment.
3) Health Costs are Spiralling
Globally, health costs are spiralling and can even leave families without a home. Certain countries have higher health care costs compared to others. The U.S. health care system, for instance, arguably offers some of the best services in the world, however, the price points for the uninsured present a significant financial barrier. Reports show that the average American spent $10,345 on health care in 2016. This average has been growing year on year.
According to eHealthInsurance, for uninsured customers in 2016, “premiums for individual coverage averaged $321 per month while premiums for family plans averaged $833 per month.” What this indicates is that for those who are uninsured, the financial burden placed on individuals and families shows no sign of abating.
For this reason, universal health coverage is a major solution to what is a significant problem. With blanket coverage across the board, vulnerable communities can use the health services they need, while being safeguarded from financial hardship.