The Maine Health Access Foundation released a new data brief developed with the University of Southern Maine that found ongoing inequality in the ability of people in Maine to get quality health care. The report examined data from 2014-2016 and discovered that Maine people, of all income groups, report difficulties in paying medical costs. Research has also found the ability to seek timely and appropriate health care is impacted by income levels, educational background, race, and ethnicity.
Research shows Maine adults 18 and older who have a family income of less than $25,000 a year, do not have a bachelor’s degree, and Mainers of Color are most impacted by health inequality. These groups are more likely to delay seeking health coverage when sick, more likely to lack insurance to assist in covering the cost of medical visits, and more likely to be unable to afford necessary prescription medications.
More than one-fifth of all Mainers surveyed, across all income ranges, reported needing to stretch out payments for medical services. Individuals making $25,000-$49,999 were statistically the most likely to be paying off medical debt over a period of time.
Overall, measures of access to care among vulnerable populations in Maine largely remained unchanged between 2012-2014 and 2014-2016.
Contact: Jeb Murphy
Phone: 207.620.8266, ext. 117