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Report: Long-Term Unemployed and Underemployed Are Delaying Care Report: Long-Term Unemployed and Underemployed Are Delaying Care

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Health Care / HEALTH CARE

Report: Long-Term Unemployed and Underemployed Are Delaying Care

photo of Sophie Quinton
December 12, 2011

Unemployed and underemployed Americans are putting off needed medical care because of the cost, according to an NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation survey released on Monday.

“About half of the long-term unemployed and underemployed said they currently have no health insurance and 56 percent said they’ve put off getting health care that they need," NPR reported. About a third of the nearly 1,500 adults surveyed said employment problems had worsened their mental and physical health.

Three-quarters of unemployed and underemployed Americans say that they, or another family member living in their household, have put off medical care because they can’t afford it, the report found.

 

Here’s a breakdown of what they delayed: 63 percent reported skipping dental care or checkups, 56 percent said they put off needed health care, 46 percent said they skipped a recommended test or treatment, 40 percent reported not filling a prescription, and 18 percent reported problems getting mental-health care.

“The reported rates of each of these problems are roughly twice as high as they are among those with full‐time jobs,” the report stated.

More than half of the adults, who were surveyed between Oct, 17 and Nov. 16, said they had lost sleep or had gained or lost more than 10 pounds. Many also reported strain on their personal relationships or marriages. Forty-four percent said they had struggled to pay for food.

“For the most part, the jobs previously held by the long-term unemployed were not high-paying,” the report said; 54 percent of those surveyed said their last job paid less than $30,000 per year.

Only 13 percent of respondents said they’re currently collecting unemployment benefits, while 51 percent said they’d borrowed from friends or family to make ends meet, according to the report, which included adults out of work for a year or more, 300 part-time workers who want full-time jobs, and 757 full-time employees.

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