Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Medical debt occurs despite insurance, Arizona study shows

Date:
June 17, 2011
Source:
University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy
Summary:
Health insurance is not protecting Arizonans from having problems paying medical bills, and having bill problems is keeping families from getting needed medical care and prescription medicines, a new study has found. The research also shows that medical debt is a separate and better predictor of whether people will delay or forgo needed medical care than their insurance status.

Health insurance is not protecting Arizonans from having problems paying medical bills, and having bill problems is keeping families from getting needed medical care and prescription medicines, a new study has found.

Related Articles


According to a study published online June 16, 2011, by the American Journal of Public Health, after taking age, income and health status into account, simply being insured does not lower the odds of accruing debt related to medical care or medications. In addition, says University of Arizona College of Pharmacy research scientist Patricia M. Herman, ND, PhD, who directed the study, medical debt is a separate and better predictor of whether people will delay or forego needed medical care than their insurance status.

"On average, insurance coverage in Arizona is not protecting families from experiencing medical debt," Herman says. "From other studies we knew that paying medical bills is a problem for a substantial portion of both insured and uninsured Americans. This study helped clarify that the fact of medical debt is an additional and larger barrier to getting needed health care than whether a person is insured or not."

The study analyzed data from more than 2,300 cases included in the Arizona Health Survey, a comprehensive survey of 4,200 Arizona households designed to assess insurance coverage, health status, behaviors and social and environmental factors that affect health. The health survey was conducted in 2008, before the full impact of the nation's recent financial recession and high unemployment.

Because individuals 65 and over have access to Medicare, the study focused on adults age 18 to 64. Researchers used logistic regression models to examine predictors of medical debt, including insurance status, and the relative impact of medical debt and insurance status on subjects' decisions to obtain needed health care or prescribed medicine.

Herman's analysis determined that the continuity of health insurance coverage is an important factor in both debt problems and seeking medical care. "People who experience coverage gaps are more than twice as likely to report problems paying medical bills, and are six times as likely to report delayed care," she says.

Among the implications of the findings, Herman says, are that health insurance should be portable, universally available, or both, so that families do not experience coverage gaps, and that serious efforts are needed to reduce large out-of-pocket costs to insured patients, to reduce medical debt.

Co-authors of the study are Michele Walsh, PhD, of the University of Arizona Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Jill Rissi, RN, PhD, of the Portland State University Hatfield School of Government. The study was funded by St. Luke's Health Initiatives, a Phoenix-based public foundation focused on Arizona health policy and strength-based community development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Patricia M. Herman, Jill J. Rissi, Michele E. Walsh. Health Insurance Status, Medical Debt, and Their Impact on Access to Care in Arizona. American Journal of Public Health, 2011; DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.300080

Cite This Page:

University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy. "Medical debt occurs despite insurance, Arizona study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110617110708.htm>.
University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy. (2011, June 17). Medical debt occurs despite insurance, Arizona study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110617110708.htm
University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy. "Medical debt occurs despite insurance, Arizona study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110617110708.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins