Research In Brief: Uninsurance Rate in Community May Affect Health Care for Insured

JULY 16, 2014 - A new study co-authored by a Georgetown health economist indicates that the health care received by the insured may be negatively impacted by a high rate of uninsurance in the community.

The article, “Spillover Effects of Community Uninsurance on Awareness, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension Among Insured Adults,” appeared in Medical Care, the journal of the medical care section of the American Public Health Association.

Carole Roan Gresenz, PhD, the Bette Jacobs Endowed Professor in the Department of Health Systems Administration at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, co-authored the manuscript along with lead author José J. Escarce, MD, PhD, and Sarah E. Edgington, MA, both of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Rate of Uninsured

“Although studies have shown that a high rate of uninsurance in a community reduces access to and satisfaction with health care among the insured population, little is known about whether the community uninsurance rate also affects quality of care and clinical outcomes among the insured,” the authors write in the abstract.

In the study, the authors assessed how the rate of uninsured individuals in a community affected awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in insured adults.

The authors found that an increase in a community’s rate of uninsured reduced the probability that patients who are insured received antihypertensive medications and blood pressure screenings.

Improving Quality

“Our results suggest that reductions in the community uninsurance rate have the potential to improve quality of care and clinical outcomes among the insured,” the authors write.

The study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

By Bill Cessato