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Most Uninsured People Unaware of Health Care Safety Net Providers

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Publication Date: November 2004

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Jessica H. May; Peter J. Cunningham; Jack Hadley

Series: Issue Brief No. 90

Topic: Health (Health services for low income people)

Type: Brief


Less than half of uninsured Americans either typically use or are aware of a safety net provider in their community, according to a national study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). Among all uninsured people, those with lower-incomes, racial/ethnic minorities and people living closer to safety net providers are more likely to know of or use a safety net provider for medical care. Uninsured people identify physician offices and community health centers most frequently as sources of lower-cost medical care, while hospital-based facilities—outpatient and emergency departments—are less likely to be mentioned. Despite high levels of emergency department (ED) use by uninsured people, few identify EDs as places to get affordable medical care.