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Percentage of adults going without care declines steeply

Jul 31, 2017

Download the report here and the data tables here.

Timely, appropriate healthcare can have a positive impact on health outcomes. If not treated early, a minor health issue can turn into a serious, chronic and costly health condition. Unfortunately, sometimes people are forced to choose between healthcare and other essential items. Such decisions may have long-term effects on health.

The 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS) found that fewer than 1 in 10 adults in the region (8%) reported that they or someone in their household had gone without a doctor’s care in the past 12 months because the household needed the money to buy food, clothing or to pay for housing. This percentage declined by almost half since 2013 (15%).

Lower-income adults more likely to Forgo care; improved since 2013

The percentage of adults going without care because of cost varied by income. Two in 10 adults earning less than 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)reported that someone in their household went without care because of cost (20%). This compares with about 1 in 10 adults earning between 100% and 200% FPG (12%), and fewer than 1 in 10 adults earning more than 200% FPG (4%). This is an improvement over 2013 and 2010 for all three income groups.

Uninsured, less healthy adults more likely to go without care

Uninsured adults (21%) were three times more likely than insured adults (7%) to have gone without care in the past year because of cost.

Going without care also varied by health status. Nearly 2 in 10 adults who reported fair or poor health had gone without care because of cost (16%). This is nearly double the percentage of adults in good health (9%) and four times the percentage of adults in excellent or very good health (4%) who reported this. This may reflect the consequences of being forced to neglect health needs in favor of other basic needs.

Older adults less likely to go without care

Only 2% of adults ages 65 and older reported that they or a member of their household had gone without care. This is lower than adults ages 18 to 29 (8%), 30 to 45 (10%) and 46 to 64 (9%). 


1 In 2015, 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines was $24,250 for a family of four; 200% FPG was $48,500.

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