Study Reveals Gap in Access to Health Care Among Mich. Residents

April 26, 2006

“Cover the Uninsured Week” was launched in southeast Michigan this week and sponsors released a new report with government data that confirmed there is a significant gap in Michigan in the amount of health care accessed by people who do have health coverage and those who do not.

In Michigan, uninsured adults are more than five times more likely not to see a doctor when they need to, compared to their neighbors who have insurance.

“The Coverage Gap: A State-by-State Report on Access to Care” identifies the extent of disparities in access to health care between insured and uninsured Americans. The findings confirm that not receiving needed medical care is taking a toll on the nearly 46 million Americans, including more than 1.1 million Michigan residents, who do not have health coverage. In Michigan a far greater percentage of uninsured adults report being in poor or fair health, compared to state residents who have insurance.

The report was released in southeast Michigan by a coalition of diverse community leaders at a kick-off event for “Cover the Uninsured Week,” May 1 – 7, a nonpartisan, nationwide effort to urge U.S. leaders to make health coverage for Americans their top priority.

“It is important that Michigan residents express their concern and let members of Congress know that health care coverage is a critical national problem that must be a top Congressional priority,” said Nancy Schlichting, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System and co-chair of Cover the Uninsured Week in Detroit. “It is time to put politics aside and take meaningful steps toward solutions. In southeast Michigan, we are doing what we can to help those living without health insurance, but this is a national problem that demands national solutions.”

The report shows that the uninsured not only skip needed medical care due to cost, but they are also far more likely to miss important health screenings that can detect cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages. Such statistics are especially troubling for the older uninsured population, whose need for such screenings dramatically increases.

“This report gives a warning to our state and national leaders by showing that our neighbors, friends and relatives without health coverage live sicker, and will likely die younger, than those who have insurance,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “When insured people get sick, they go to the doctor, and they get better. When women with insurance are in their 40s, they start getting mammograms regularly.

Countering popular opinion that the uninsured are overwhelmingly young and healthy, the analysis shows that an increasing number of Americans over age 50 are finding themselves without health care coverage. According to the most recent figures, nearly 1.3 million adults age 50 – 64 are uninsured in the Midwest.

Disparities in access between insured and uninsured residents exist in every state.

More than 43 percent of Michigan residents living without health insurance report being unable to see a doctor when needed in the past 12 months, due to cost, compared to 8 percent of adults who have health care coverage.

Uninsured women are less likely to get mammograms to detect breast cancer than women with coverage.

In Michigan, 19 percent of women (aged 40 – 64) with health insurance have not received a mammogram in the past two years, compared to more than half of women without insurance.

Adults who are uninsured are much less likely to have a personal doctor or health care provider.

More than 45 percent of adults in Michigan without health care coverage say they do not have a personal doctor or health care provider, compared with just 13 percent (13.3 percent) of people with health care coverage.

Over 1,000 nonpartisan, community-based events will take place nationwide during Cover the Uninsured Week. Events in southeast Michigan include:

* “Call to Action” Interfaith Prayer Breakfast: Monday, May 1, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m., Cobo Center, One Washington Boulevard, Room W-154, Detroit

* Community Forum/Networks 2010: Wednesday, May 3, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m., Fellowship Chapel – Village Banquet Center, Detroit, sponsored by the Detroit Wayne County Health Authority

* Healthcare Challenge Business Forum: Thursday, May 4, 11:30 a.m., Dearborn Inn, 20301 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn

* Health and Enrollment Fair – Insure the Uninsured: Thursday, May 4, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Cobo Center, One Washington Boulevard, Detroit.

* Additional free health and enrollment fairs will be held throughout the metro area Sunday, April 30 through Sunday, May 7. Go to for a full list of health and enrollment fairs in southeast Michigan.

Activities are designed to encourage people to express their concern by instantly contacting members of Congress through the campaign Web site, .

The report released today was prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation by researchers at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center, located at the University of Minnesota.

To view the state-by-state research report, send a message to Congress, locate Cover the Uninsured Week activities, or find information in English or Spanish, go to: .

Source: Henry Ford Health System

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