LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – A new poll shows a larger number of Kentucky adults don’t use a regular doctor, health clinic or other appropriate source of health care.
The latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) report says 24% of Kentucky adults say they do not have a usual place to go for health care, compared to 18% in 2009.
Those without health insurance were nearly twice as likely not go to a regular doctor, clinic or other appropriate health care source, according to the report.
However, the report found that hasn’t necessarily translated into more visits to emergency room or urgent care clinic visits.
According to the poll, about 8% of Kentucky adults said they go to the emergency room or an urgent care center when they need medical care.
“Going to the same place for medical care – a place that knows you and your medical history – is key to maintaining good health and preventing chronic disease,” says Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “You’re more likely to have regular wellness visits, immunizations and health screenings and to avoid dangerous medication interactions and preventable hospital admissions when you have both health insurance and a regular care provider. The fact that those living on low incomes are less likely to have either of these is another example of how poverty often leads to poorer health.”
One in five Kentucky adults report someone in their household has delayed or skipped needed medical care because of cost. That figure was about the same in 2014, although it had dropped from about one in three in 2009.
The report shows adults living on lower incomes are more likely to forgo care: one in four earning 200% or less of the Federal Poverty Guidelines delayed or skipped needed medical care in 2018, down from nearly one in two in 2009.
“The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion in Kentucky significantly reduced the percentage of uninsured Kentuckians, but many still struggle with other cost barriers,” Chandler says. “We need to find a way to bridge those gaps to improve health and to reduce the higher health care costs that result when we delay or forgo essential and preventive care.”
You can view the full KHIP report HERE.