A simple visualization of why it stinks to be uninsured

One major difference between being insured and uninsured is easy to see in new graphs from a government report.

When compared to those without insurance, working-age adults with insurance are far less likely to go without prescription drugs because they can't afford them, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.  You can also see in this chart how people struggle to afford insurance as their incomes approach and fall below the federal poverty line.

Over the last decade, as you can see in the chart to the left, those without insurance were about four times as likely to skip a needed prescription drug.

(National Center for Health Statistics)

The results aren't all that surprising, but the graphs are a helpful visualization of how people put off necessary care because they can't afford it. And ultimately, delaying care could lead to poorer health and the use of even more services, the NCHS report points out.

The charts come from the NCHS's massive 511-page report from Wednesday that provided a wide-ranging checkup on how our country is performing on numerous health-care measures. The above results come from the National Health Interview Survey, in which people were simply asked, “During the past 12 months, was there any time when you needed prescription medicine but did not get it because [person] couldn’t afford it?”

A similar correlation was found between people's income and their decision to skip medical and dental care because of cost.

(National Center for Health Statistics)
(National Center for Health Statistics)


Jason Millman covers all things health policy, with a focus on Obamacare implementation. He previously covered health policy for Politico.
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