Gaining and losing health insurance: strengthening the evidence for effects on access to care and health outcomes

Med Care Res Rev. 2000 Sep;57(3):298-318; discussion 319-25. doi: 10.1177/107755870005700302.


This study uses longitudinal data to examine the consequences of losing and gaining health insurance coverage for access to care and health. For both Medicaid and privately insured persons, compared with those who remained insured, persons losing coverage over a 2-year period were more likely to lack a usual source of care, encounter difficulty in obtaining medical care, be very dissatisfied with ability to obtain needed care, and report no physician visits in the previous 12 months. Uninsured people who gained coverage showed improvement across all indicators of access, in contrast to those who remained without insurance. The effects of changes in coverage on health were in the same direction as those for access, but did not reach statistical significance. This study strengthens the evidence that health insurance coverage has a substantial impact on ability to gain access to medical care and may affect health status.

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Research
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States