In a new study, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University at Buffalo in New York found that people who were uninsured were much less likely to use preventive health care and less likely than others to be insured.
The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, examined data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Affairs from the National Health Interview Survey, which includes data from 4.3 million U.S. adults, ages 19 to 64.
The survey included questions on health insurance, prescription drug coverage, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and visits to emergency rooms.
Researchers analyzed the data to determine the percentage of uninsured people using preventive care.
They found that those who were insured were nearly twice as likely as those who weren’t to have access to primary care and were nearly three times as likely to be covered by insurance.
They also found that the uninsured were more likely to have an emergency room visit, to have a COVID-19 test and receive a prescription for a drug or a vaccine than the insured.
Overall, the uninsured rate for people ages 18 to 64 was 2.8 percent.
The uninsured rate among people ages 65 to 74 was 11.2 percent.
“The uninsured rate is a significant and growing public health problem,” the study authors wrote.
“More than half of Americans under age 65 have no health insurance at all, and a majority of people ages 25 to 64 have no employer coverage at all.
This is especially true among older adults.”
While the authors of the Kaiser study note that they used a self-administered questionnaire and not random samples, the survey data may have provided a better understanding of the underlying reasons for this gap in coverage, said lead author Amy Kuehn, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Public Health at the Berkeley campus.
“These data could have been used to better understand what people were looking for, and could have identified barriers that prevent them from accessing preventive health services,” she said.
For example, they could have used data from other survey surveys to better track the reasons why the uninsured people were more than twice as often uninsured compared to those who did not have insurance, or they could be used to identify ways to improve the availability of health insurance in the future.
They may also have been able to identify more efficient ways to target these people for preventive care in the short term, Kueeh said.
“One thing that is not known is whether the uninsured rates are related to the quality of care they receive or whether they are the result of a mix of factors, such as lack of coverage and access, that are not directly related to health care,” Kuehn said.
Kaiser has since released a new version of the survey that uses a more detailed set of questions, including more questions on the type of health care coverage people receive, which types of preventive care they have access, and how long it takes to get to a primary care provider.
The Kaiser survey also asked about how much of the uninsured person’s income went toward insurance.
“People who are uninsured and are not covered have an estimated total of $5,724 more in medical expenses than those who are insured,” the researchers wrote.
That may explain why the Kaiser data is not as comprehensive as the previous survey.
However, the new data does show that the vast majority of uninsured persons are not paying any premiums, the researchers found.
The new survey also includes questions about prescription drug costs.
According to the researchers, the number of uninsured Americans with prescription drug insurance rose from 3.3 percent to 5.3 as of June 30.
The number of people with insurance increased by 12 percent over the same period, from 16.2 million to 22.9 million.
The researchers did not find a statistically significant difference in the number or costs of prescription drugs in the two years.
“Overall, we are confident that the health outcomes of the country as a whole are better off with health coverage than without it,” Koehn said.
Researchers hope that future studies will provide a more complete picture of how Americans with insurance are benefiting from preventive health.
For instance, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a group of people who have insurance can access primary care care for less money than those without.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires that individuals buy insurance, including prescription drugs, through the government-run exchanges set up under the law.
Researchers are hoping that future surveys will examine the reasons for insurance coverage, and to develop ways to encourage insurance coverage among the uninsured.
“We have seen a number of studies in the past year that suggest that people without insurance have higher health care costs,” said Dr. Stephen F. Kretzmann, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the health economics research center at Harvard’s School of Public Heath.
“But we have also seen that it is not necessarily that people with more coverage are healthier, or are paying more for health care.” In a