What are the barriers in Prince George’s County, Maryland?
Unlike the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, MD, does not offer county public health insurance. In 2019, a Rand Report found that 2 out of 5 Latino immigrants do not have health insurance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the county recorded the most COVID cases and deaths in Maryland. The most affected neighborhoods were Hyattsville, College Park, Langley Park, Beltsville, and Adelphi, where more than 50% of residents are Latino. Overcrowded housing, high rates of uninsurance, and pre-existing health conditions are more prevalent in the county than in the state and occur in communities that have been hit hard by COVID-19. During COVID, Prince George’s County made efforts to increase access to health services to test, treat, and prevent COVID. However, the estimated number of ineligible residents for insurance in the county is about 60,000.
Impact of NOT having any type of health insurance:
• Detection and Treatment: Having access to health insurance can prevent or help treat illness.
• Moral Imperative: Immigrants residing in the county report higher numbers of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes compared to other ethnic groups. The prevention and management of these conditions require access to qualified physicians.
• Cost Savings: By not guaranteeing access to primary health care, diseases can worsen and cause complications which end up being more costly to treat.