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Unemployed Have Poorer Mental and Physical Health

Last Updated: January 24, 2012.

Unemployed adults are about half as likely to have health insurance as employed individuals; have poorer mental and physical health, regardless of their insurance status; and are less likely to receive needed medical care and prescriptions, according to a January data brief issued by the National Center for Health Statistics.

TUESDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Unemployed adults are about half as likely to have health insurance as employed individuals; have poorer mental and physical health, regardless of their insurance status; and are less likely to receive needed medical care and prescriptions, according to a January data brief issued by the National Center for Health Statistics.

In an effort to compare the relationship between access to health care and overall health status, Anne K. Driscoll, Dr.P.H., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated data from the 2009 and 2010 National Health Interview Survey of employed and unemployed adults.

The researchers found that, overall, 81.4 percent of employed adults and 48.1 percent of unemployed adults had health insurance, and a greater percentage of unemployed adults had public insurance. In this study, unemployed adults had poorer mental and physical health, regardless of their insurance status, and were less likely to receive needed medical care and prescriptions. Uninsured adults, regardless of employment status, were also less likely to receive needed medical care and prescriptions.

"In addition to having poorer health, unemployed adults were more likely to delay or not receive needed medical care and needed prescriptions due to cost than their employed counterparts across categories of insurance," the authors write.

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