Although health care is a fundamental quality of life issue, it is not something that all Washington residents can take for granted – more than 750,000 Washingtonians are without it. Health insurance translates into access to health care, and access to regular health care facilitates treatment that is preventative, effective and cost-efficient. When people are uninsured, they do not get the care they need or they delay care to the point where minor health concerns become major health problems, with enormous health and economic costs.
The Uninsured Lack Access to Health Care that the Insured Take for Granted
- Compared with their insured counterparts, the uninsured are 4 times less likely to have a regular source of care.
- Uninsured children are 2.8 times less likely than insured children to have seen a physician in the previous year, and significantly less likely to be attended to by a doctor after a serious injury.
- The uninsured are less likely than the insured to use cost-saving preventive services like basic screenings and checkups.
- Those without insurance are 3-5 times more likely than the insured to delay seeking needed medical services, including eyeglasses, dental care, prescription drugs and surgery.
One quarter of the uninsured with high-risk health problems like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol go at
least two years without a regular check up, leading to enormous avoidable emergency care costs.
- Uninsured pregnant women begin prenatal care later, and receive more sporadic care than their insured counterparts. Nearly 40% of those who delay care cite lack of insurance and cost as their main reason
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