From Coverage to Care

Exploring Links Between Health Insurance, a Usual Source of Care, and Access

An important determinant of access is whether people have a usual source of care. Health insurance coverage is one factor that makes people more likely to have a usual provider, but coverage alone does not guarantee access. This synthesis examines the relationship between health insurance and having a regular care provider. Results indicate people with health insurance are more likely to have a usual source of care; the newly insured, as well as people with unstable coverage are less likely to have a regular source of care; and about two-thirds of those without a usual source of care say the main reason they have no such source is because they rarely get sick. Among those who have a usual source of care, most see an office-based doctor as their primary provider. The uninsured and publicly-insured are more likely to use an institution and to face access barriers.

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