The economic downturn is contributing to a decline in overall family health in the African American community, with parents prioritizing their children's health over their own.
While half of African Americans consider it equally important for parents to take care of their own health and the health of their children, significantly more African American parents say the economic downturn has affected their own health and wellness compared to that of their children (60 percent vs. 46 percent).
In fact, African American parents are making their healthcare a lower priority overall, ranking their own healthcare fourth (four percent) on a list of top priorities — below their children's healthcare (55 percent), housing (30 percent) and even food and groceries (8 percent). In addition, African American parents are worried about their family's overall healthcare situation.
Half (51 percent) of African Americans are concerned about their ability to afford healthcare, medicines and treatment for themselves or their families. And their perspective on the future is even gloomier, with 68 percent of African American parents indicating they expect the current economic downturn to affect their own health or that of a family member.
The survey of 2,186 American adults was commissioned by Boehringer Ingelheim to evaluate Americans' views and concerns about healthcare access and included 317 African Americans.
In addition, only one-third (33 percent) of African Americans say they have health insurance that generally meets their needs and is reasonably affordable given their current financial situation. These findings offer further perspective on recent reports from the National Association of Community Health Centers which found that 60 million people in the United States lack access to basic medical care.
Other findings from the survey include:
When it comes to healthcare in the current economic downturn, the ability to afford health insurance is a concern for 45 percent of African Americans, followed by an unforeseen medical or personal crisis (39 percent) and concerns about affording or obtaining needed medicines and specialized treatments — even with insurance or other healthcare coverage (39 percent).
Seventeen percent of African Americans reported not receiving healthcare because of a lack of health insurance, inability to pay, or other reasons; another 11 percent said they do the best they can to pay for healthcare themselves because they do not have health insurance or government support.
Seven in 10 (71 percent) African Americans would seek out and go to a free clinic on a regular basis to meet their and their family's healthcare needs if they lost or could not afford health insurance, had no health insurance or could not qualify for a government-sponsored healthcare program.
However, 42 percent of African Americans report not knowing how to find out about free clinics, what services are available and if their families qualify.
The Boehringer Ingelheim Family Health Survey was conducted on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim by Greenfield Online between April 28 and April 30. The online survey interviewed a national sample 2,186 US adults age 18 and older.