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Commonwealth Fund to Study Access to Healthcare

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, February 8, 2012

Access to Primary Care Physicians
Finding a physician is a challenge for both the low- and moderate-income insured and uninsured. Some 51% of the uninsured reported problems finding a primary care physician over the past three years. That is understandable.

But here's the kicker: For the low- and moderate-income population, being insured doesn't mean you'll be able to see a doctor either. According to the report, 25% to 50% of the insured report that a physician or clinic wouldn't even take their health insurance.

Use of the ER
Using the ER was another problem for both the insured and uninsured among the low to moderate income population. According to the report, people with low incomes—with or without insurance—reported going to the ER at higher rates that adults with higher incomes.

At that income level, the uninsured and insured turn to the ER for medical emergencies at about the same rate (88% vs. 89%), and for the same reasons—when other facilities are closed (55% vs. 54%) or when they are directed by a physician (37% vs. 32%). No real surprises there.

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