Every June, the public health community draws attention to the unique health needs of men through Men’s Health Month. This year, President Trump also issued a Presidential Message, urging American men to “familiarize themselves with the symptoms and warning signs of diseases and illnesses that pose a risk to them, while also committing to leading more active and healthier lifestyles.”
Medicaid plays a vital role in helping men and boys get the care they need to live healthier lives, according to Dr. Sal Giorgianni, science adviser to Men’s Health Network, an organization that actively works to raise the profile for the needs of men and boys across the country. They’re also one of our Modern Medicaid Alliance partners – no surprise, given more than 30 million men and boys are covered by Medicaid.
One proposal for Medicaid is a welcome physical for all enrollees similar to the Welcome physical available in Medicare. “The ‘Welcome to Medicaid’ physical would be a perfect opportunity for men to uncover unrecognized or undiagnosed medical conditions,” says Dr. Giorgianni. “Men often put off addressing painful or metabolic conditions, and this physical is a chance to finally address those ailing pains.” This comprehensive physical would include vision, hearing, blood pressure and STD tests, as well as a mental health evaluation and other assessments for chronic conditions.
Dr. Giorgianni also points to Medicaid’s role in helping with awareness and outreach to men. “We need to support men where they live, work, play, and pray – and Medicaid does that by reaching men in all areas of the country, whether rural or urban.” With more men becoming single parents, eligible men are encouraged to enroll in Medicaid along with their children – because kids are healthier when their parents are.
Yet, Dr. Giorgianni notes there are still challenges facing men’s health. For example, social, peer and economic stigma often prevent men from enrolling in Medicaid. “Seeking health coverage is usually one of the lowest priorities for men – and we need to change that,” Dr. Giorgianni shares. He hopes that innovations tailoring Medicaid marketing to the needs of men – and more organizations working to dispel the myth that seeking medical care is synonymous with weakness – will lead to more men seeking the care they need.