Health insurance and access to health care in the United States

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008;1136:149-60. doi: 10.1196/annals.1425.007. Epub 2007 Oct 22.


Health insurance, poverty, and health are all interconnected in the United States. This article synthesizes a large and compelling body of health services research, finding a strong association between health insurance coverage and access to primary and preventive care, the treatment of acute and traumatic conditions, and the medical management of chronic illness. Moreover, by improving access to care, health insurance coverage is also fundamentally important to better health care and health outcomes. Research connects being uninsured with adverse health outcomes, including declines in health and function, preventable health problems, severe disease at the time of diagnosis, and premature mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Medicaid
  • Medically Uninsured
  • Mortality
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Poverty
  • United States