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The importance of healthcare for truckers

02.21.2020 - 11:55 AM Comments: 0

Healthcare is, without a doubt, one of the most essential parts of life. Without it, folks cannot receive the care they require, which can lead to declining health and even death.

In the trucking industry, healthcare is a much-needed resource, as truckers tend to struggle with a variety of health issues that stem from their work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers trucking a high-risk occupation, making it all the more important to have healthcare available to truckers. 

Additionally, according to research from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers tend to be obese, suffer from high blood pressure, and are also at high risk of developing diabetes.

Because of the multiple health problems truckers are at risk of, their life expectancy is currently 16 years lower than the national average, which is doubly worrying when you consider that most truckers work until their mid-60s.

Considering how important healthcare is to a faction of people who will likely need it because of their job, you’d think truckers would have access to great healthcare, but that is not the case.

In yet another CDC study, they found that 38 percent of the truckers they had spoken to were uninsured, which shows how difficult it can be to get access to healthcare as a truck driver. 

As of now, truckers have multiple options for acquiring healthcare, but they all have the same issue: affordability.

Whether it’s private insurance, company plans, or OOIDA plans, truckers are forced to pay hefty premiums, co-pays, and deductibles in order to get the care they need.

In addition to struggling to afford healthcare, access can also be an issue for many truck drivers. Even if they have insurance, their access is limited due to networks.

If a trucker needs emergency medical assistance while on the road, they’d have to make sure that the hospital they end up at and the doctor that treats them is in-network. Otherwise, they could be stuck with a hefty bill that they may or may not be able to pay. 

Because of the various factors that affect receiving healthcare, many truckers just end up foregoing care altogether.

This same issue isn’t just common in the trucking industry, however, as folks across the country also suffer through similar situations.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Medicine, 45,000 people die every year due to a lack of healthcare, for a plurality of reasons. 

Chief among those reasons is affordability and access, which is likely to continue plaguing Americans until the healthcare system is reformed.

Nonetheless, with a lack of healthcare being such a prevalent issue in the trucking industry, it is paramount to make sure truckers can be fully covered as soon as possible. 

One solution that has been floated around in recent years has been the implementation of a single-payer, Medicare-for-all plan, which would eliminate premiums, co-pays, and deductibles for all Americans while expanding care completely.

With Medicare-for-all, affordability and access issues would be completely eradicated and everyone would have access to healthcare that is free at the point of service, meaning that they would have no out-of-pocket expense.

In addition to general healthcare, added benefits such as optometry, dental, and at-home care would also be part of the comprehensive package of services.

And while many fear that they’ll be losing their hard-earned union healthcare, that is not fully the case. With Medicare-for-all, unions would no longer have to waste time trying to stop companies from cutting healthcare benefits.

By no longer having to bargain for better healthcare, they can use their time and resources to receive better wages and paid time off, among many other benefits. It’s just one less bargaining chip for employers to hold against their workers.

The proposed policy would also allow people to keep their current doctors. Because it technically eliminates networks created by insurance companies, it means you’ll have full control over what doctors you would like to see and what hospitals you’d like to attend. 

Though it would positively affect Americans, opponents have questioned the program’s viability due to one question: How are we going to pay for it?

Well, it’s fairly simple. With a small 2 percent increase in taxes for regular folk and a substantial increase for wealthy people in the United States, the program could thrive in the same way Social Security has for many years.

Of course, it isn’t crazy to oppose any increase in taxes, but it’s also important to note that truckers would net-save thousands of dollars every year. By eliminating the “private tax” that comes in the form of co-pays, premiums, and deductibles, truckers are likely to benefit greatly.

Considering the absolute need for care in the trucking industry, any kind of reform that gets more drivers insured would be welcomed. Nonetheless, a Medicare-for-all system may be the most efficient way to make sure everyone is sufficiently covered. 

So, what do you think about healthcare in the trucking industry? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

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