While good health is a creation of individual and community decisions and behaviors — and good genes — it is also dependent on the availability of affordable, high-quality health care. Barriers to accessing quality care come in many forms:
- There are cultural and language barriers. Consumers and health-care providers don't always speak the same language, and medical language is hard to understand even for those technically speaking the same language.
- There are also location barriers. For instance, those in rural communities and in some inner-city communities may have fewer choices among health-care providers.
- The financial barriers are usually lessened by having access to insurance, though sometimes insurance does not cover all costs of care. The implementation of the health care law, The Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, has increased the possibility that families are more likely to be insured.
- There are barriers caused by not knowing how to use care appropriately.
K-State Research and Extension provides programming to address all types of barriers, enhancing better access to care. Our programs:
- Educate consumers and stakeholders about the Affordable Care Act (Health issues website) (health issues blog)
- Educate consumers about the purpose of health insurance and how it works (Health issues website publications and reports)
- Facilitate needs assessments in communities to help determine what kinds of additional resources are needed to meet local needs. (Center for Community Engagement).
- Educate consumers on how to use health care appropriately. (Health Insurance Smarts)