A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Interact for Health’s CHSS reports that fewer of us go without doctor’s care, likely because of ACA

The 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS), funded by Interact for Health, has found that fewer than 1 in 10 adults in the region (8 percent) 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, when it was 15 percent,” says O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President/CEO of Interact for Health. “The last survey was done before implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and it is likely that the ACA strongly influenced this reduction.”

Dr. Owens adds, “Timely, appropriate health care can have a positive impact on health outcomes. Unfortunately, sometimes people are forced to choose between health care and other essential items. Such decisions may have long-term effects on health.”

Adults in Northern Kentucky counties report similar results to the region as a whole (9 percent in Northern Kentucky vs. 8 percent for the overall region) and showed a decline from 17 percent since the survey was last taken in 2013.

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

“In our region, uninsured adults were three times more likely than insured adults to have gone without care in the past year because of cost,” says Dr. Owens. 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 percent). This is nearly double the percentage of adults in good health (9 percent) and four times the percentage of adults in excellent or very good health (4 percent) 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 percent 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 percent), 30 to 45 (10 percent) and 46 to 64 (9 percent).
More information about Greater Cincinnati adults’ behavior regarding delaying or going without health care, and other topics, is available online.
The 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS) was conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati for Interact for Health. A total of 4,261 randomly selected adults residing in eight Ohio counties, nine Kentucky counties, and five Indiana counties were interviewed by telephone between August 10, 2016, and March 8, 2017. This included 1,906 landline interviews and 2,355 cell phone interviews. The potential sampling error for the overall survey data is ±1.5%. For more information about the CHSS and a list of community partners, please visit www.interactforhealth.org/community-health-status-survey. 

Interact for Health is building healthy communities for all people as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. More information is available at www.interactforhealth.org.

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