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Physician Access Challenges Up for Those With Public Insurance

Second study notes that 14.6 percent of people in U.S. were uninsured in first half of 2013

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse experiences with physician availability are more likely among those with public insurance, and almost 15 percent of people in the United States were uninsured in the first half of 2013, according to two December data briefs issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Renee M. Gindi, Ph.D., from the NCHS in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues used data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to examine the prevalence of adverse experiences with physician availability in the past year. The researchers found that 2.4 percent had problems finding a general doctor, while 2.1 and 2.9 percent, respectively, were told that a doctor would not accept them as new patients or their health care coverage. All three experiences were more likely among those aged younger than 65 years with public coverage only versus private coverage.

Michael E. Martinez, M.P.H., and Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., also from the NCHS, estimated the lack of health insurance coverage using data from the 2013 NHIS for 50,329 persons. The researchers found that, in the first half of 2013, 45.2 million persons (14.6 percent) were uninsured, 56.1 million (18.1 percent) had been uninsured for at least part of the previous year, and 33.4 million (10.8 percent) had been uninsured for more than one year. Among children under age 18 years, 7.1 percent were uninsured at the time of interview, while 41.3 and 52.8 percent had public and private health insurance coverage, respectively.

"In the first six months of 2013, the percentage of persons uninsured at the time of interview was 14.6 percent (45.2 million) for persons of all ages," Martinez and Cohen write.

Report - Gindi
Report - Martinez and Cohen

Physician's Briefing