People who have experienced recent changes in their health insurance status are more likely to use hospital emergency departments, a new study finds.
The use of emergency departments is an important indicator of access to care. People who have difficulty obtaining outpatient care often turn to emergency departments for medical care, said Dr. Adit Ginde, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and colleagues.
The researchers analyzed data from nearly 160,000 adults who took part in the 2004 to 2009 National Health Interview Study, and found that 21 percent of insured adults and 20 percent of uninsured adults had made at least one visit to an emergency department during the previous year.
Further analysis of the data revealed that nearly 30 percent of newly insured adults (those who were insured but lacked insurance at some point during the previous year) had at least one emergency department visit, compared with 20 percent of continuously insured adults.