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Requiring Medical Card Renewal Is a Good Idea – Here's Why

May 14, 2024

Most people with active Utah Medical Cards need to renew those cards on an annual basis. A small number of patients have shorter renewal times based on recommendations from their medical providers. Nonetheless, there is no such thing as a permanent Medical Card in Utah. That is a good thing.

Card renewal is designed to accomplish several things. If patients were not required to renew, which is to say they had permanent cards, it is quite possible that they would ultimately not receive all the potential benefits of comprehensive care. And that runs contrary to the whole purpose for introducing Utah's Medical Card.

Not Everyone Renews

We think it is important to point out that not every patient with an active Medical Card actually renews it. Just by looking at the monthly program data published by the state, you can see that thousands of cards expire every month. While the program continues to add new patients, it also drops patients who choose not to renew.

There could be any number of reasons for not renewing:

  • A patient decides that the Med Card isn't worth renewing.
  • The medicines a Med Card provides access to are not working.
  • A patient and their doctor decide to pursue another course of treatment.
  • A patient's initial Med Card was intended only for temporary use.

Possessing an active Medical Card isn't an automatic requirement to renew after a year. In order for patients to fully understand whether renewal is a good idea, a discussion with a medical provider is an order. That is the whole point. Requiring renewal encourages patients to visit with their medical providers on a regular schedule.

Health and Conditions Change

A Med Card is just one component of a comprehensive care plan. It provides access to plant-based medicines considered alternatives to traditional treatments. But care is only truly comprehensive when it adapts to a patient's health and current condition. Both of those things can change over time.

The reality of change is one of the reasons doctors cannot write prescriptions indefinitely. A prescription can only be renewed so many times before the patient needs to visit the healthcare provider again. Subsequent visits are intended to make sure that the medication in question is still an appropriate treatment. The same is true for the medicines accessible through a Medical Card.

Better Treatments Come Along

Something else to think about is the possibility that better treatments will come along in the future. Healthcare is constantly evolving. Science is always teaching us new things about medicine. So what works best today might not work as well as a new treatment introduced a year from now.

Visiting with a healthcare provider is the best way to stay abreast of new treatments. A healthcare provider is in the best position to know whether a new treatment is more appropriate.

All of this is to say that things change. Rarely is a person's medical condition static for an entire lifetime. Symptoms sometimes get worse. Sometimes they get better. When it comes to degenerative conditions, a patient's experience changes as the disease progresses. These are all things providers take into account during renewal visits.

If you have a Utah Medical Card, you may consider it a hassle to have to renew every year. We get it. But as a QMP group committed to comprehensive care, we know that renewals are a good idea. Renewals give us an opportunity to visit with our patients, if for no other reason than to check up on them. It is better for patients in the long run.

By KindlyMD
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