Fifty-two percent of uninsured Americans were unaware of or did not use safety-net providers, increasing the risk that they went without medical attention, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change. In a representative survey of 46,600 people, 64% of the uninsured identified a single place where they usually went for medical care; just 45% of those uninsured said they paid less than full price for care. Hospital outpatient clinics and emergency departments were much less likely than community health centers and physician offices to be identified as safety-net providers. "While uninsured people may be frequent emergency-department users because of a lack of alternatives -- and because by law they can't be turned away -- these findings suggest that they don't necessarily regard ERs as places to receive affordable or lower-cost care," study co-author Peter Cunningham said in a news release. Read the center's issue brief. -- by Laura B. Benko
Uninsured often unaware of safety-net providers
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