Written by: Brett O’Hara
In general, a doctor’s visit is a fairly standard event, as about three in four adults made a trip to a medical provider at least once during 2010. If you lack health insurance, however, the picture completely changes, as only a little more than one quarter without coverage made a visit.
A new report from the Census Bureau sheds light on the relationship between health insurance coverage, health status and the utilization of medical services. According these findings, uninsured adults who visit medical providers or dentists often went to the emergency room or to low-cost or free clinics, rather than to a regular provider.
Among those who did visit a medical provider or dentist while uninsured, 13 percent visited the emergency room and 10 percent a hospital (excluding the ER), while 20 percent relied on free services and 30 percent on discounted services. Furthermore, about one in 10 of the uninsured received routine check-ups.
Those without insurance and with poor health are more likely to forego medical attention than the general population. For those who were uninsured and had poor health, 68 percent visited a medical provider during the year, compared with 94 percent of those in the overall population with poor health.
Lacking insurance is associated with less medical utilization for the healthy, too: only 15 percent of the uninsured whose health was reported to be excellent paid a visit to the doctor during the year, considerably lower than the 68 percent whose health was excellent in the overall population.
For more information on the findings, see the news release.