Uninsured, publicly insured more likely to report negative care experiences

Patients who are publicly insured or uninsured are more likely to be treated unfairly in healthcare settings compared to patients with private insurance, according to a report from the Urban Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

The report, published Aug. 1, is based on responses from a nationally representative group of 9,067 U.S. adults polled in April 2021 as part of the Urban Institute's annual Health Reform Monitoring Survey. 

Two key findings:

1. In total, 9.6 percent of adults with public health coverage, such as Medicaid, and 7.4 percent of adults without insurance reported experiencing unfair treatment or judgment in a clinical setting because of their insurance status. Only 1.3 percent of privately insured adults reported the same. 

2. About 16 percent of publicly insured adults reported an unmet need for care due to insurance-related hassles compared to 11 percent for those with private insurance.

"Learning more about unfair treatment in healthcare settings and its adverse effects on

patients' care, health and well-being — especially for populations who have elevated health needs or face systemic disadvantages — is important," the Urban Institute said. "Future work should continue exploring these issues to shed light on solutions that would expand patient receipt of high-quality health care regardless of ability to pay or health insurance type." 

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