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Perception, Reality and Health Insurance: Uninsured as Likely as Insured to Perceive Need for Care but Half as Likely to Get Care

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Publication Date: October 2005

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

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

Series: Issue Brief No. 100

Topic: Health (Health care financing)

Type: Brief

Abstract:

While considerable research shows that uninsured people are less likely to seek and receive medical care, some contend that the uninsured are uninsured by choice and can obtain care when needed. A new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), however, undercuts the validity of this contention, finding that there is no difference between insured and uninsured people’s perception of the need to see a medical provider when they experience a serious new symptom. However, among people who believed that they needed medical care, the uninsured were less than half as likely to see or talk to a doctor, indicating that lack of insurance is a major barrier to uninsured people getting needed medical care.