Access to Care for Low-Income Women: The Impact of Medicaid

Health coverage is of critical importance to low-income women. This study was undertaken to assess how low-income women with Medicaid, private insurance, or no insurance vary with regard to personal characteristics, health status, and health utilization. Data are from a telephone interview survey of a representative cross-sectional sample of 5,200 low-income women in Minnesota, Oregon, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas. On the whole, low-income women were found to experience considerable barriers to care; however, uninsured low-income women have significantly more trouble obtaining care, receive fewer recommended services, and are more dissatisfied with the care they receive than their insured counterparts. Women on Medicaid had access to care that was comparable with their low-income privately insured counterparts, but in general had significantly lower satisfaction with their providers and their plans. Future federal and state efforts should focus on expanding efforts to improve the scope and reach of health care coverage to low-income women through public or private means.

This article, written by Alina Salganicoff and Roberta Wyn, appeared in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, Vol. 10, No.4, 1999.

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