Those having the hardest time getting care were those with household incomes under $74,999 annually, according to the survey.
Among those with family incomes under $15,000 annually, about 30 percent of those with private insurance were considered underinsured compared to 11.2 percent of those with public insurance, the researchers reported.
For incomes between $15,000 and $34,999, about 26.2 percent with private insurance were underinsured compared to 17.7 percent for those with public insurance.
In the $35,000 to $74,999 annual income range, about 16.9 percent of the privately insured were underinsured compared to 8.8 percent of those with public insurance, the investigators found.
At income levels over $75,000, about 5.6 percent of the privately insured were underinsured; no one had public insurance, according to the authors.
"People who are in those middle income brackets are saying they are having a harder time taking care of their children's health and their children's health is suffering," said study co-author Bill Spears, an associate professor in the department of community health and pediatrics at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Xenia, Ohio.
The jury is still out on whether health reform legislation will alleviate underinsurance, Spears said, though much depends on the specifics of the coverage people will be expected to buy.
Far more people will have insurance, but if the coverage they buy has high premiums, deductibles and co-pays, people may continue to find it difficult to pay for care. "If I had to guess, I'd say the underinsurance issue is not going to improve and may get worse," Spears said.
But Mark Rukavina, executive director of The Access Project, believes health reform should help the underinsurance issue. More families will be eligible to get coverage under Medicaid. In addition, by 2014, private insurers will have more requirements for the ty
All rights reserved