Health costs, not coverage status, keep people away from the doctor

Health insurance, or lack of it, isn't the biggest factor keeping patients from getting medical treatment. The cost of care itself keeps more people away from hospitals and doctors offices, even among those who do have coverage, a survey by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) found. 

The survey looked at 1,022 adults in Michigan, roughly 900 (88 percent) of which had coverage. Among those insured, 17 percent continued to delay care because they couldn't afford it. 

What's more, people with more money reported that they were in better health than people with less money. Of those people surveyed who earned $150,000 or more annually, 72 percent believed themselves to be in "good" or "excellent" health. Only 14 percent of people making $10,000 or less per year could say the same. Coverage status didn't appear to be a factor, as 49 percent of those who were covered said they were in "very good" or "excellent health," compared with 47 percent of those without insurance.

"Rather than a simple count of who has health insurance and who doesn't, we wanted to get a clearer picture of the people behind the statistics," said Marianne Udow-Philips, CHRT director. "And we wanted to test the connection between health insurance and access to health care." 

To learn more:
- read this CHRT press release
- here's the executive summary of the survey
- here's the actual survey