At times, some people minimize the necessity of health insurance. Can’t people just visit the hospital, regardless of their ability to pay? Emergency rooms are required to admit all comers. While that is true, emergency rooms are not ideal for treating chronic conditions. By the time people get there, they are often in dire straits. Treating them often ends up being more expensive and less effective at that point, since their health has worsened.
Migraine sufferers are a case in point. Their issues go beyond simple headaches; the throbbing pain can negatively impact their daily lives to a severe degree. As it turns out, hospital emergency rooms are more likely to provide substandard care for migraines. They are simply not equipped for such purposes. Patients with affordable health insurance are more likely to visit doctors or hospital outpatient departments.
The study from the Cambridge Health Alliance found that emergency rooms, where uninsured patients tend to receive their care, are five times as likely to offer worse treatment of migraines. That leads to the disparity of uninsured migraine patients being twice as likely to receive worse treatment.
Why do uninsured patients have worse outcomes? Emergency rooms do their best to treat the acute condition, giving a prescription for a narcotic that alleviates immediate symptoms. However, they do not typically prescribe the correct drugs found to decrease the chance of future moderate to severe headaches, such as DHE (dihydroergotamine). A primary care physician is more likely to have a steady relationship with a patient, and better able to help him or her manage their condition.
The authors of the study believe that up to 5.5 million patients will be assisted by a quality health insurance plan that covers severe migraine treatment.