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Mental Health Care Access Differs With Race, Insurance

Last Updated: February 05, 2018.

Among adults with serious psychological distress, whites and those with private insurance were significantly more likely than blacks to experience certain barriers to utilizing health care, according to a study published online Feb. 1 in Psychiatric Services.

MONDAY, Feb. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Among adults with serious psychological distress, whites and those with private insurance were significantly more likely than blacks to experience certain barriers to utilizing health care, according to a study published online Feb. 1 in Psychiatric Services.

Judith Weissman, Ph.D., J.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, N.Y., and colleagues used data from the National Health Interview Survey (n = 8,940) to compare health care access and utilization among adults with serious psychological distress by race-ethnicity and gender in years surrounding implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The researchers found that the proportions of white and black adults with serious psychological distress were largest in the South. After adjusting for health coverage, sociodemographic characteristics, health conditions, region, and year, whites were more likely than blacks to report insufficient money for medications and mental health care and delays in care. Compared with blacks and Hispanics, a greater proportion of whites used private coverage, while blacks were more likely than all other racial-ethnic groups to have Medicaid.

"More research is needed on health care utilization among adults with serious psychological distress," the authors write. "In this group, whites and those with private coverage reported poor utilization, compared with other racial-ethnic groups and those with Medicaid, respectively."

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