Several Factors Continue to Influence Rates of Uninsured Individuals

Study finds large number of uninsured individuals in Massachusetts still face hurdles related to cost and eligibility.

Issues with health insurance have left more than 200,000 people in Massachusetts uninsured, despite having achieved the lowest uninsured rate in the nation at 3%.

A qualitative study was conducted by researchers at Commonwealth Medicine, with the summarized report authored by UMass Medical School.

The study interviewed 33 uninsured individuals to learn about their experience with having no health insurance. Researchers hoped that they could discover the reasons they lacked insurance and help find future strategies that could help minimize these hurdles they face.

Researchers found that there are several reasons for being uninsured, with the major culprits being health insurance costs, eligibility limits, and difficulties with the application process.

The results of the study showed that most individuals wanted health insurance coverage, but there were factors that stopped them from receiving it.

Some had changing circumstances that resulted in the loss of employer-sponsored insurance, while others were not eligible for employer-sponsored insurance or subsidized health insurance. Even with subsidies, they were still unable to afford it, the study found.

Those who do not have health insurance could receive a penalty, but the study found this was not a major factor that influenced individuals who were interviewed.

Several individuals believe that that the application process should be adjusted to be more understandable and that there should be in-person assistance available for applying online or by phone. It would also be helpful to have enrollment assisters that speak a variety of languages, the study noted.