How health care delay and avoidance decisions are affected by finances and health insurance

Patrice Williams, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objective. To identify how an individual's finances and health insurance coverage affects their decision whether to avoid or delay medical care. Methods. Secondary data analysis of The Effects of Financial and Insurance Considerations on Health Care Utilization 2007 telephone survey data. Study inclusion criteria. 18 years old, Harris County resident, and had a need for medical care within the past year. Post weighing was done to correct for non-response bias. Results. Survey decision makers were predominately minorities (60%), Female (70%), and insured (71%). Ninety-two percent of participants sought care when needed, however, of this population 39% delayed medical care. Fifty-six percent of participants who delayed medical care sought care in the Doctor's office. For those who replied "Yes" to considering health insurance and finances in deciding to avoid medical care, 61% stated that they were confused about their insurance coverage as the explanation why. Fifty-five percent of Respondents indicated that delaying medical care was due to not knowing whether medical care was necessary. Conclusion. Additional research needs to be conducted to examine the relationship between onset of medical symptoms and final medical diagnosis to identify whether survey participants who delayed or avoided medical care actions were appropriate responses to their initial medical symptoms and final diagnosis.

Subject Area

Public health|Health care

Recommended Citation

Williams, Patrice, "How health care delay and avoidance decisions are affected by finances and health insurance" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1450480.