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Study: Unemployed, Underemployed U.S. Residents Delaying Care

California Healthline, 12/13/11

About half of unemployed and underemployed U.S. residents do not have health insurance and 56% are delaying necessary care because of concerns about cost, according to according to a study released Monday by NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Journal reports.

The study is based on a survey of about 1,500 U.S. adults, including 413 individuals who have been unemployed for more than a year, 300 part-time workers in search of full-time jobs and 757 full-time employees.

According to the study, nearly 75% of respondents who are unemployed or underemployed said that they or another family member have delayed medical care because they could not afford it. For example:

63% skipped dental care or checkups;
46% skipped a recommended test of treatment;
40% did not fill a prescription; and
18% reported problems receiving mental health services.
The authors noted that the reported rates were about twice as high as they are among individuals who currently have full-time jobs.

Nearly one-third of respondents said employment issues had worsened their mental and physical health. For example, more than half of adults surveyed said they had gained or lost more than 10 pounds and 44% said they struggled to pay for food (Quinton, National Journal, 12/12).


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