Health Care Access and Cost Barriers for Adults with Physical or Mental Health Issues: Evidence of Significant Gaps as the ACA Marketplaces Opened their Doors

Brief

Health Care Access and Cost Barriers for Adults with Physical or Mental Health Issues: Evidence of Significant Gaps as the ACA Marketplaces Opened their Doors

April 4, 2014

Abstract

More than one-third of nonelderly adults in the US reported that their physical health or mental health was not good for one or more days in 2012. Physical and mental health problems translate into higher levels of health care need and higher risks for poor health outcomes if those needs are not met. Historically, such health problems have been compounded by preexisting condition exclusions employed by health insurance companies to reduce costs. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has eliminated this practice, barriers to care for those with high health care needs are likely to remain. In this brief we examine the health care access and affordability challenges reported by nonelderly adults in December 2013comparing the experiences of healthy adults to those of adults reporting physical and mental health problems in order to identify whether the latter are more likely to face barriers in getting the care they need.

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