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Even With Insurance, Unemployed Have Worse Health Outcomes
Date:1/24/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- People without jobs who have health insurance are less likely to get medical care or prescription drugs than people with jobs who have such coverage, U.S. health officials reported Tuesday.

During the depths of the recent recession, unemployment reached 9.6 percent, a level not seen since 1983. Because health insurance affects access to care and most people rely on getting insured through their employer, researchers wanted to look at the effect of unemployment and lower income on access to health care, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Insurance without a job is a difficult position to be in," said report author Anne Driscoll, a senior fellow at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

In the study, Driscoll and her colleague, Amy Bernstein, wanted to find out whether having private, public or no insurance mattered if you were employed or unemployed.

They found that private insurance, which experts think is the most comprehensive, was no guarantee of better health care.

"If you had private insurance but weren't employed, you had worse mental health, worse physical health and were less likely to get prescriptions you needed or care that you needed than if you had a job," Driscoll said.

Cost of care appears to be the overriding factor why having private insurance and no job was associated with lack of access to care, she said.

"Because you don't have a job, deductibles and co-payments are the reasons you can't use your insurance to the fullest. You're better having insurance than no insurance, but it's not a panacea. A job and insurance is the most advantageous category to be in, not just being insured," Driscoll said.

For their study, the authors used data from the 2009 and 2010 U.S. National Health Interview Survey and compared the health insurance status, health and
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