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Survey: Fewer Kentucky Adults Delayed Health Care Due to Cost

Jan 31, 2019

Decisions about seeking health care are often influenced by costs. The individual needing care may be faced with a co-pay for an office visit, may have yet to meet his/her deductible, or may lack health insurance entirely. However, delaying medical care can negatively impact health outcomes.

Thus, the 2018 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) asked Kentucky adults whether they or someone in their household needed medical care in the past year, but delayed getting it or did not get it at all due to cost. About one in five Kentucky adults (21%) reported that they had postponed care due to cost, down from about 1 in 3 (32%) in 2009 when the question was first measured prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

KHIP is sponsored by Interact for Health and Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky,

“Getting the right health care at the right time can make a significant difference in a person’s overall health,” said O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of Interact for Health. “Whether you have insurance or are uninsured, cost can be a barrier that prevents you from getting the care you need. At Interact for Health, we support efforts to remove barriers so all people can access health care.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health System Tracker, nationwide only 9% of adults delayed or did not get care due to cost in 2017. 

Fewer low-income adults delay care due to cost

In 2009, KHIP found that nearly half of Kentucky adults (48%) earning less than 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines had delayed health care due to cost. In 2018, one quarter (25%) reported that they’d postponed care because of cost.

In 2017, 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines was $49,200 for a family of four.

Most Kentucky adults report having appropriate source for care

When looking at ways to control health care costs, it is useful to understand the source of routine health care. Only 8% of Kentucky adults surveyed by KHIP reported that their usual source of health care was an emergency room or urgent care center, which are considered inappropriate sources of care; while 68% noted that they typically sought care at a private doctors’ office, community-based health care clinic or hospital outpatient department, considered appropriate sources. An additional 24% of Kentucky adults reported no usual place for care.

Responses to this question varied by insurance status, with nearly half (48%) of Kentucky adults without health coverage indicating that they used an inappropriate source for routine care.

About the Kentucky Health Issues Poll

The 2018 Kentucky Health Issues Poll was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health. It was conducted Aug. 26-Oct. 21, 2018, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 1,569 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone. This included 697 landline interviews and 872 interviews with cell phone users. In 95 of 100 cases, the statewide estimates will be accurate to ±2.5%. There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as nonresponse, question wording or context effects that can introduce error or bias. For more information about the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, please visit www.healthy-ky.org or www.interactforhealth.org/about-khip/.

About Interact for Health

Interact for Health is improving the health of all people in our region. We serve as a catalyst by promoting health equity through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. To amplify the impact of our work, Interact for Health focuses on three strategic priorities: reducing tobacco use, addressing the opioid epidemic and ensuring that children have access to health care through school-based health centers. We are an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

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