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Survey: Health Care Access Deteriorates

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Even U.S. adults who have health insurance may be having a harder time getting medical and dental care.

Genevieve Kenney and other researchers at the Urban Institute, Washington, are reporting that finding in a study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J.

The researchers conducted in connection with efforts to track the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) and other efforts to change the U.S. health care system.

Access Changes for Adults, from 2000 to 2010

Share with Unmet Medical Need Due to Cost 6 percentage point increase
Share Who Had a Routine Check-Up 5.1 percentage point decrease
Share Who Had a Dental Visit 3.9 percentage point decrease
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J.

The researchers conducted the study using federal Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey data, and the results could indicate that poor underwriting results might lie ahead for life insurers, disability insurers, long-term care insurers that are depending on steady improvements in the health of the American people to help claims experience.

The researchers found that, overall, the percentage of U.S. adults ages 19 to 64 who reported having any unmet medical need due to cost increased to 18.7% in 2010, from 12.7% in 2000.

The percentage who had received routine checkups fell to 63.2%, from 68.3%, and the percentage who had visited a dentist fell to 65.2%, from 69.1%.

The figures were much worse for the uninsured than for people who said they had some kind of private or public health insurance.

The researchers found, for example, that 69.7% of the insured adults had received a routine checkup, compared with just 37.9% of the uninsured.

The share of uninsured adults who had received a medical checkup fell 11.6% percentage points between 2000 to 2010, and the percentage who had received a dental checkup fell 9 percentage points.

But the share also fell for insured adults.

The percentage with insurance who had had a checkup fell 2.6 percentage points, and the percentage who had visited a dentist fell 2 percentage points.


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