The report found that, in late 2018, 24 percent of Kentucky adults said they do not have a usual place to go for health care, compared to 18 percent in 2009. Meanwhile, about 8 percent of Kentucky adults say they go to the emergency room or an urgent care center when they need medical care, a figure that has remained steady since 2009, when KHIP first posed these questions.
Kentucky adults without health insurance were nearly twice as likely to lack a usual source of health care as those with coverage, the KHIP report found.
"Going to the same place for medical care - a place that knows you and your medical history - is key to maintaining good health and preventing chronic disease," said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "You're more likely to have regular wellness visits, immunizations and health screenings and to avoid dangerous medication interactions and preventable hospital admissions when you have both health insurance and a regular care provider. The fact that those living on low incomes are less likely to have either of these is another example of how poverty often leads to poorer health."
The report also found that about one in five Kentucky adults say someone in their household has delayed or skipped needed medical care because of cost. That figure was about the same in 2014, although it had dropped from about one in three in 2009. Adults living on lower incomes are more likely to forgo care: One in four earning 200 percent or less of the Federal Poverty Guidelines delayed or skipped needed medical care in 2018, down from nearly one in two in 2009.
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About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $28 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth