Gaps in coverage cause adults to forgo preventive care, study finds

Adults with health coverage disruptions are more likely to forgo recommended care and medication due to costs compared to adults with continuous coverage, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Researchers from the American Cancer Society examined coverage disruptions among adults ages 18-64 from 2011-18 using multiple measures of access and affordability, according to a May 24 news release

The researchers found that coverage disruptions were relatively common, with up to 10.7 percent of insured adults reporting a coverage disruption in the prior year, and nearly 25 percent of uninsured adults reporting loss of coverage the prior year.

Uninsured adults and those with longer disruptions in care reported significantly worse access to care and affordability compared to insured adults.

"Our findings highlight the importance of health insurance coverage continuity related to access to care and affordability," the researchers said in the statement. "This is especially relevant with recent increases in unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread loss of employer-based private coverage, the primary source of private coverage in the working-age population." 

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