Nearly 2 in 3 low-income parents skipped medical care, study finds: 5 things to know

Low-income parents (those at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level) are three times as likely to forgo some sort of medical care over parents at 400 percent of the federal poverty level, according to a Jan. 5 Urban Institute study

The study surveyed 9,067 adults, 2,864 of whom identified as parents with at least one child 19 years old or younger living with them.

The study describes the demographics of those at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line as younger, less likely to be married and making approximately $30,000 annually for a family of three. The families are also disproportionately families of color, according to the study. 

Five statistics:

1. Between April 2020 and 2021, 61.5 percent of low-income parents reported that factors like costs, difficult work schedules, transportation and family obligations forced them to skip medical care.

2. Over 48 percent of the demographic suffers from at least one chronic condition, while about 41 percent marked having a mental health condition. Over 26 percent reported having "fair" or "poor" health — 22.5 percentage points higher than those living 400 percent above the federal poverty level. 

3. The population also faces widespread uninsurance, with 21 percent of low-income parents being uninsured. These parents also lacked a go-to provider. 

4. Low-income parents reported struggling with family medical bills seven times more often than those above 400 percent of the federal poverty level. 

5. Financial hardships also extended to food insecurity (1 in 3 low-income parents) and housing insecurity (4 in 10 parents).

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