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A portrait of the uninsured: Skipping care

Posted by on February 7, 2012

Low-income people spend longer amounts of time being uninsured, and skip needed care because they’re uninsured, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund.

This in itself may not be surprising, but the depths of the problem are: 35 percent of low-income families and 18 percent of moderate-income families have been uninsured for two years or more.

Of uninsured people, 10 percent of those over 50 have been screened for colon cancer, as is recommended; of the insured population, 50 percent has had that screening.

Other points, from a blog post on Kaiser Health News by Jordan Rau:

“A third of low-income Americans (under 133 percent of poverty, or $29,726 for a family of four) have lacked insurance for at least two years–10 times the rate of higher earners (over 400 percent of poverty, or $89,400 for a family of four).

“Half of those with incomes under 2 ½ times poverty ($55,875 for a family of four) lacked  a regular source of care.

“Half of people under 133 percent of poverty ($29,726 for a family of four) have used the emergency room to get a prescription written.”

The entire study is worth reading, as a picture of what the lack of insurance does to medical decisions.