Report of the AAN Task Force on access to health care: the effect of no personal health insurance on health care for people with neurologic disorders. Task Force on Access to Health Care of the American Academy of Neurology

Neurology. 1996 May;46(5):1471-80. doi: 10.1212/wnl.46.5.1471.


Access to medical care is limited for people with no health insurance. In the United States, an estimated 31 to 41 million people under age 65 have no health insurance. Among the uninsured, an estimated 340,000 new cases of neurologic disorders occur annually. The Task Force on Access to Health Care of the Academy analyzed data from four nationwide health surveys to describe the national population of people with neurologic disorders (PWND) by insurance status and to examine access to care, utilization of services, and expenses for health care of PWND. Health insurance status significantly affected access to and utilization of health care services. Compared with insured PWND, the uninsured less often had a usual source of medical care, saw a particular doctor, or visited a neurologist. The uninsured had fewer doctor's office visits and fewer hospital admissions than privately insured PWND. In the doctor's office they got fewer tests, fewer referrals for therapies, but more medications. In the hospital they received more diagnostic and therapeutic procedures overall, but those with cerebrovascular disease received fewer angiograms and endarterectomies. National health care reform may improve access to care for PWND if they are equitably included in the new systems. However, neurologists should assertively advocate for the needs of PWND to have adequate insurance and appropriate access to neurologic consultations, neurologic tests, and treatments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Databases, Factual
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / economics*
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Neurology*
  • Societies, Medical*
  • United States