20-Somethings: Young and Fit? Here Are 5 Reasons You STILL Need a Doctor

Younger adults are generally in better health than older people.  Plus, many people run, work out and try to keep themselves in better health.  So why is it that 20-somethings rely on emergency departments (EDs) for care far more than those in other age groups?

  • Often these trips to the ED are not for emergency care. It’s because they don’t have a primary care physician and don’t know where else to turn when something comes up.
  • Many young people don’t have a primary care physician (PCP) because they simply haven’t taken the time to choose one.
  • Others don’t have a primary care physician because they don’t have insurance; perhaps they lost their insurance during the transition from their teen years to adulthood.

You may have procrastinated with finding a primary care physician, but now is the time to choose one so that you can start getting preventive care that may help you avoid a serious medical issue. Here are 5 reasons having a PCP is important:

  1. Preventive care helps you reach your personal best by:
    • Setting a baseline for tracking your health over time.
    • Catching problems before they become major issues.
    • Getting on a path for lifelong health management.
  2. Get personal medical advice for urgent medical issues:
    • With a PCP, you’ll get medical advice when you need urgent medical attention.
    • An ED doctor isn’t familiar with you; your PCP knows you and your medical history.
  3. Having a regular source of care correlates to better health:
    • Having a PCP will keep you healthier.
    • Studies show that adults who have established a relationship with a PCP have better health outcomes and better chronic disease management.
  4. Get personal treatment from someone you know:
    • You’ll get VIP treatment from someone who knows you.
    • Your PCP has an entire team that works to help keep you healthy and at your best.
  5. It’s a non-emergency care option that is far less costly than the ED:
    • Do the math: Seeing a primary care physician is far less expensive than the cost of a trip to the emergency department.
    • Plus, you’ll save money over the long run. One national study showed that adults who had a primary care physician as their regular source of care had 33 percent lower costs of care.

So get running…to the doctor! Having a PCP will help you be prepared to deal with any medical issue that may arise down the road. If you don’t have insurance, you may be able to find affordable health coverage options. Remember, young adults can get coverage until the age of 26 through a parent’s insurance.

Finally, there is a trusted resource you can use to find a PCP. Visit YourHealthMatters.orgto find a doctor near you.

Dr. William Mase,
Master of Public Health Program,
Director and Assistant Professor of
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Department of Environmental Health

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