Barriers to health care access among the elderly and who perceives them

Am J Public Health. 2004 Oct;94(10):1788-94. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.10.1788.


Objectives: We evaluated self-perceived access to health care in a cohort of Medicare beneficiaries.

Methods: We identified patterns of use and barriers to health care from self-administered questionnaires collected during the 1993-1994 annual examination of the Cardiovascular Health Study.

Results: The questionnaires were completed by 4889 (91.1%) participants, with a mean age of 76.0 years. The most common barriers to seeing a physician were the doctor's lack of responsiveness to patient concerns, medical bills, transportation, and street safety. Low income, no supplemental insurance, older age, and female gender were independently related to perceptions of barriers. Race was not significant after adjustment for other factors.

Conclusions: Psychological and physical barriers affect access to care among the elderly; these may be influenced by poverty more than by race.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medicare
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States