Uninsured Prioritize Basic Coverage Over More Choices
"[H]aving the ability to pick a doctor is a fundamental American value," but a recent exercise indicates that "choice is a luxury [the uninsured] don't much care about," columnist Timm Herdt writes in a Ventura County Star opinion piece.
Citing a series of focus groups conducted this summer for the California HealthCare Foundation, Herdt writes that the uninsured seemingly would opt "to get a wider array of services for their money by opting to get their care 'from a small group of doctors' that limits access to specialists and decides which hospital you will go to."
CHCF financed a series of 11 focus groups in six different cities across the state, in which 121 uninsured adults were asked to design a health insurance plan that is affordable and that meets their needs.
Findings from the exercise cited by Herdt include:
- 94% of participants chose a plan with dental coverage;
- 62% of female participants chose access to routine care as a top priority; and
- 27% of participants decided that a plan with many physicians to choose from was a high priority.
Herdt also notes that a "majority of participants were willing to pay a higher price for a higher level of coverage in only two areas: to include dental and vision coverage, and to include coverage for complications in childbirth."
Although Marge Ginsburg -- executive director of Sacramento Healthcare Decisions and head of the project -- said that the sample size was not large enough to make statistically accurate generalizations, Herdt writes that the focus group members' responses "should be instructive to state lawmakers grappling with how to shape a universal insurance plan" (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 8/1).
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