Primary Care Medicine
Professor Nancy E. Reid, MHA, DHSc, PA-C
This manuscript examines the literature evidence that being uninsured is an independent risk factor for poor health in the US.
A literature search was conducted through PubMed and MedLine using the search terms: uninsured, underinsured, risk factor, poor health. The search results identified 245 articles. The search was repeated adding the search term: Medicaid. The search results reduced the number of articles to 55. These results were filtered to include articles published within the past 5 years and the yield was 30 articles. Five articles of pertinent original source material published greater than 5 years ago were retained. Articles not directly relevant to the US medical environment were excluded and the remaining 21 articles were included in this review.
The evidence reviewed here demonstrates a definitive association between being uninsured and poorer health outcomes. This review finds that being uninsured is an evidence-based risk factor for poorer health.
Without insurance, an individual is at risk for significantly fewer cancer screenings leading to more advanced disease and reduced survival rates with a cancer diagnosis. Changing from an uninsured status to an insured status has rapid, dramatic, and positive outcomes in application of screening tests and in self-appraisal of well-being. These positive changes are seen promptly with the ending of the uninsured status.
This review finds that being uninsured is an evidence-based risk factor for poorer health. Knowing this risk factor, providers and their professional associations have the societal responsibility to support amelioration of it. Supporting and facilitating universal healthcare – through a single source or through multiple sources – ends this risk factor in America.
Nantz, C Benjamin III MA PA-C
"Is the Absence of Health Insurance an Independent Risk Factor for Poor Health in The United States,"
Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science: Vol. 1
, Article 49.
Available at: https://digitalshowcase.lynchburg.edu/dmscjournal/vol1/iss4/49
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