Adults with insurance gaps were less likely to have a regular doctor or receive preventive screenings for cholesterol levels or mammograms. More than half of adults with income below 133% of federal poverty guidelines were uninsured for part of the year and the same was true for one-third with incomes between 133% and below 250% of the guideline. The survey included 2,134 adults including 977 with incomes below 250% of the federal poverty level.
A majority of those who tried to buy their own insurance struggled to compare benefits and costs and 45% never did bought insurance, the report said. “The individual market has proven to be a weak stop-gap option for families who lose employer insurance,” the report said.
“Among the most troubling findings of the survey are the consequences of coverage gaps on the ability of people to get the healthcare they need. Disruptions in health insurance are associated with lower reported rates of having a regular doctor or place to go for healthcare, lower rates of blood pressure and cholesterol tests, and lower rates of preventive cancer screens,” the report said. “The longer someone goes without health insurance, the lower their reported receipt of these critical preventive healthcare services. Eliminating gaps in coverage is essential to ensuring that Americans can gain timely access to health services that are necessary to maintaining good health over time.”
Sixty-three percent of respondents knew of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision to allow children to be covered under a parent's plan until age 26. Nearly half, 46%, of adults younger than 26 had coverage under a parent's plan. Half of adults were aware of pre-existing condition insurance plans created under the law.