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Soc Work Health Care. 2005;42(1):93-106.

Back to basics: the role of health insurance in getting a physical exam.

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  • 1Behavioral Science Department, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI, USA.


The social work profession has a long history of advocacy to improve the human condition, especially for groups of people at high risk of discrimination and marginalization. Social workers have been instrumental in identifying, assessing, treating, and preventing illicit drug use as part of this commitment to advocacy. One component of social work's endeavors on behalf of drug users and other populations- at-risk has been advocating for increased access to health care. This article examines the role that having health insurance plays in obtaining the most basic of all health care-getting a physical examination. Featuring a sample of 1,271 chronic and injecting street drug users and comparison group non-users, the analysis demonstrates that having health insurance enhances access and utilization of health care among this at-risk population. Subjects who had health insurance for even one month of the past twelve were twice as likely to participate in basic health care by having a physical exam.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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