State Residents Not Using Free Preventive Care, Worried About Costs, Survey Finds


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chit graphic sept 2015
Kathy Navaroli, 50, of Windsor, hadn’t seen a primary care doctor in years when she decided to go for a physical this summer.
She didn’t ask about preventive care screenings, such as a mammogram or Pap test, in part because she worried they might involve an insurance co-pay or deductible. Her household income is below $30,000 a year.
“I got a physical, they did some blood work, and that was it,” she said.
Kerrishian McCants, 31, of Hartford, a mother of four, has a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure, but has not discussed those possible risks with her doctor. She hasn’t asked about preventive care or screenings, she says, because she doesn’t want to pay extra on her limited income.
The two women are not unusual, according to a health-care utilization survey of 444 state residents conducted by the Conn. Health I-Team.
While 88.4 percent of residents surveyed said they have a primary care doctor, only slightly more than half said they had received preventive screenings in the last two years. Of those who said they had not received preventive care, 59 percent said they believed such services would cost them money out-of-pocket, in co-pays or deductibles.
That perception persists in Connecticut despite an expansion of free preventive care since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Adults are now entitled to 15 preventive services, including depression and diabetes screening, diet counseling, and tobacco-cessation programs, while women are entitled to 22 other preventive services, including mammograms, domestic violence screening and counseling, and osteoporosis checks (for those over 60) — with no cost sharing.
The survey, distributed in New Haven, Hartford and surrounding towns, found that 44.4 percent of respondents said they had not received preventive care screenings, such as mammograms and diabetes screening. Whites were more likely than African-Americans and Hispanics to report receiving such care – 62 percent, compared to 46 percent of Hispanic respondents and 58 percent of African-Americans. Preventive care also was more likely for those with higher household incomes – over $50,000 – than for those below $50,000.
Forty-eight percent of respondents who had not received preventive care said that concerns about cost were a reason.
Pat Baker, president of the Connecticut Health Foundation, said the finding that respondents were worried about cost in
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