Summary: This study examined the association between food insecurity and health insurance coverage, access to care, health care utilization, and financial hardships among U.S. adults.
Authors employed a retrospective longitudinal cohort study design using panel data from the 2016–2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Linear probability models were used to examine the association between food insecurity in one year and outcomes of interest (health insurance coverage, access to care, health care utilization, and financial hardships) in the subsequent year.
Findings: Food insecurity was associated with higher uninsured rates and lower private coverage rates as well as lower access to care, including delay in receiving necessary medical care and delay in obtaining necessary prescription drugs. Those experiencing food insecurity also had a higher rate of emergency room visits, whereas associations with inpatient, outpatient, and prescription drug use were not significant. Food insecurity was linked to greater financial hardships, such as experiencing difficulties paying medical bills.
These findings highlight the adverse consequences of food insecurity on access to and affordability of care for U.S. adults and families. Food insecurity can have far-reaching implications for the well-being of individuals and families.
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