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Common Barriers to Healthcare

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), physical well-being is critical to overall well-being. As such, access to healthcare—the means through which we preserve our well-being—is a fundamental component of a happy, healthy life. Unfortunately, lack of access to healthcare continues to affect millions of people, meaning that many are forced to go without important health care services.

While inequities in health care access are by no means a new phenomenon, they have recently been thrown into sharp relief by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated many existing health disparities. Here, we’ll go over a few of the most common factors that underlie lack of access to healthcare:

Lack of Health Insurance and/or Cost of Healthcare

Approximately 1 in every 10 individuals in the United States doesn’t have health insurance. What’s more, the populations that are most likely to be uninsured (namely, people with low incomes and minorities) are often the same populations that are already at risk for poor health outcomes as a result of environmental or socioeconomic factors.

For many people without insurance, paying out of pocket for medical costs is unaffordable, and as a result, they may choose to simply go without. Even for people who do have health insurance coverage, healthcare costs such as prescriptions and co-pays are often prohibitively expensive.


Logistics are another important aspect of the equation when it comes to health care access. Research has suggested that people without reliable access to transportation may not utilize healthcare services as much, or may be more likely to miss appointments. This is particularly true for people who live in rural areas.

Race and Ethnicity

Being a member of a minority racial or ethnic group may also present its own set of difficulties, including language barriers in healthcare settings, cultural stigmas, and lack of awareness of services.

LGBTQIA+ Identity

Individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community often struggle to find healthcare that meets their needs. This is due to a variety of factors, including structural discrimination, lack of cultural competency on the part of physicians, and lack of insurance.

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