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Inquiry. 2011 Summer;48(2):155-68.

Individual insurance and access to care.

Author information

  • Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. steven.hill@ahrq.hhs.gov


Starting in 2014, more Americans will have private, nonemployment-related insurance ("individual insurance"). Using the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey for 2002 through 2007, this paper compares access to care between nonelderly adults with individual insurance and those with employment-related insurance. Adults with individual and employment-related insurance report similar, often good, access to care. The study employs bivariate probit models to account for omitted variables correlated with access and type of insurance, and controls for differences in health status, attitudes, and socioeconomic characteristics. Results show that individual insurance may reduce access in some dimensions, but all effects are imprecisely estimated, so that none is statistically significant.

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