What my online community’s interests are, and where they go for information

The target community (at least, the uninsured) for Health Care 2008 is primarily interested in how to get free or low-cost health care. While it is difficult to find any online forums or communities expressly composed of uninsured Americans, there are several posts on non-insurance-related Web sites where people discuss the issue of covering the uninsured. Mostly, it is people lamenting the health-care crisis or asking each other what to do if they have no insurance. For example, one Families.com user posted the following advice to someone without insurance:

“Most cities offer free or low-cost clinics. There is a trade-off, in waiting long hours just to be seen, and not having the same doctor with each visit. When I was pregnant with my first child, we had no insurance, and made too much $ [sic] for Medicaid ($1,200 a month – unbelievable!). I ended up using a low-cost clinic where interns provided the medical care. Also, see if there are any teaching hospitals in your area.”

Another Internet surfer posted a question to Yahoo! Answers. The person describes her depression and writes that she thinks she needs medication but has no insurance:

“It’s a part-time job with no benefits and money is tight so if you respond with ‘seek counseling’ or ‘seek medical help,’ that is not helpful to me… Nothing seems to matter anymore.”

Of course, almost everyone responded that she should seek counseling, and some offered advice about how to get free or low-cost care.

As to where the uninsured get information, there are a variety of resources available online, especially with the presidential election coming up. Aside from the basic sites such as the Medicaid site, there are also many organizations dedicated to insuring all Americans. One such organization, Insure All Americans, a project by the Center for Health Transformation, has a plan to insure those without coverage based on changing the way people think about health care and the way health care is financed.

Other sites are dedicated simply to providing developing news about health care. By far the most prominent is the Kaiser Family Foundation site, which has a sister site, Health ’08, that details all of the presidential candidates’ health-care plans and also has a comparison tool that allows users to review the plans side by side. As far as blogs are concerned, there really are not many that many blogs dedicated to health care, aside from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s daily health-policy news report. There are a few sites that contain specific articles – notably MSN Money’s “survival guide” for the uninsured – but most do not contain material entirely devoted to health insurance issues. Additionally, there are no magazines or newsletters targeted to the uninsured, aside from those affiliated with the above organizations, that I am able to discern. Certainly, there exist many blogs that may have the occasional post on health care or health-care news, but there are few that are dedicated solely to health-care news, and even fewer that are reputable. This is why my blog fits perfectly into the marketplace; it fulfills a need not widely satisfied.

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