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Uninsured Often Receive Less Medical Care

Among individuals who experience a change in health caused by an unintentional injury or new chronic condition, those without insurance are more likely to have difficulty// obtaining recommended medical care and more likely to experience larger declines in short-term health, according to a study.

Jack Hadley, Ph.D., of the Urban Institute, Washington, D.C., presented the results of the study today at a JAMA media briefing on access to care at the National Press Club.

The large and increasing number of uninsured individuals in the U.S. underscores the importance of knowing the health consequences of being uninsured, according to background information in the article.

Dr. Hadley conducted a study to examine whether uninsured individuals who experienced a health shock caused by either the onset of a chronic condition or an unintentional injury received the same amount of medical care and had similar short-term health outcomes as insured individuals. He analyzed data from Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (1997-2004), limited to nonelderly individuals whose insurance status was established for two months prior to one or more unintentional injuries (20,783 cases among 15,866 individuals) and onset of one or more chronic conditions (10,485 cases among 7,954 individuals).

Dr. Hadley found that after experiencing a health shock, uninsured individuals were less likely to obtain any medical care: those with an unintentional injury (UI), were 53 percent less likely; those with a new chronic condition (NCC), were 55 percent less likely to obtain any medical care.

Among those who received some care, the uninsured were more likely not to have received any recommended follow-up care: the UI group were 2.6 times more likely, while those with a new chronic condition were 1.7 times more likely.

Results of the research also indicated that uninsured individuals with UIs or a NCC had fewer office-based visits and pr
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