Across the nation, increasing health-care costs are forcing some parents to forgo taking children to the doctor and filling prescriptions regardless of whether they have insurance. That's according to findings presented this week at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies.
In the study, researchers examined data from the 2001-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys on 6,273 families with at least one child to determine factors that sway families’ decisions to go without care. According to a recent release (.pdf):
Results showed that experiencing excessive financial burden, having a child with an ongoing activity limitation and a parent having intermittent insurance all increased the likelihood that families would delay or go without care. However, when the parent and child had the same insurance, they were more likely to get the care they needed.
Additionally, significant racial/ethnic and income-related disparities existed in the experience of delayed or forgone care. For example, non-Hispanic black families were less likely to report delayed or forgone care than non-Hispanic white families. Meanwhile, families whose income was less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level were more likely to delay or go without care than families with incomes at or above 400 percent of the poverty level.
Researchers plan to do a follow-up study examining how delaying care may influence a person's health later in life.