Report: Texans missed health care services, suffered financially due to COVID-19

More than one third of Texans skipped or postponed health care services over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by Episcopal Health Foundation. The most commonly skipped visits were for preventative care like checkups, mammograms, colonoscopies and child immunizations.

Receiving care via telemedicine was not an option for 22% of the respondents, due to lack of a device, no internet access or no knowledge about how to talk to a doctor online. Those without the ability to use telemedicine tended to be older, have lower income and lower levels of education and were more likely to live in rural areas.

 

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The pandemic also impacted Texans financially. More than half of respondents also say the pandemic impacted their income, and 22% say it was “severe.” Sixty-two percent of Hispanic Texans report increased financial hardship, as well as 74% of those without health care and 61% making less than $50,000 per year.

More than one-third of Texas residents report either they or someone in their household has lost their job. Forty-two percent of those without college degrees reported a job loss compared to 27% of those without college degrees.

“COVID-19 is highlighting how social and economic conditions play a key role in everyday health and Texans say that’s especially true during a public health crisis like this,” Elena Marks, president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation said in a statement. “From being uninsured to not having internet access for online school, Texans say these nonmedical factors are not only shaping how they’re dealing with the pandemic, they also could be seriously affecting their future health in many different ways.”

Black and Hispanic Texans are also more likely to say they are “very concerned” about another wave of COVID-19, at 73% and 55% respectively. Overall, 46% of Texans are concerned about another wave of the virus and 34% of white Texans have that concern. Blacks are also more worried that the worst of the pandemic has yet to hit, with 72% expressing that concern compared to 34% of whites.

“These stark differences in concerns about the future show that COVID-19 is hitting Blacks and Hispanics in Texas harder than anyone else,” Marks said. “These groups are seeing more deaths and serious complications from the virus because they’re more likely to already suffer chronic conditions related to where they live that make them more susceptible. Coronavirus is shining a bright light on how social and economic conditions are conspiring against their health in Texas.”

Overall, 59% of Texans are very or somewhat likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. The attitude toward a COVID-19 vaccine varies across political and racial lines. Only 46% of Republicans are willing to get a vaccine compared to 72% of Democrats. Black Texans are the least likely racial group to agree to a vaccine, with only 49% stating they are willing to get one. Hispanics are the most willing to receive a vaccine at 63% and 59% of whites say they will get a vaccine once they become available.