A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that higher-income uninsured individuals in the U.S. receive recommended care at about the same rate as low-income uninsured individuals.
Researchers from Yale University found that the rates of cancer screenings, heart health screenings, general health services and maintenance care for chronic diseases varied widely, but there was no statistically significant correlation between income level and rate of care among the uninsured. The study suggests that individuals with higher incomes do not seek recommended care at a higher rate if they must pay for the care themselves.
According to researchers, policymakers should focus on patient education and expanding health coverage to low- and high-income uninsured individuals so that more people access recommended health screenings. Researchers say many proposed health care reforms that involve increased out-of-pocket cost-sharing or high-deductible insurance plans and health savings accounts could lead more adults to forego recommended screenings (Ross et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, 5/3).