On October 17, 2016, the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) released a new research brief developed with the University of Southern Maine that found significant inequality in the ability of people in Maine to access quality health care. "Our research shows the devastating inequalities in whether people in Maine can get health care,” said Barbara Leonard, president and CEO of the MeHAF. “If you’re young, have a low-income, lack higher education or are a racial or ethnic minority, health care maybe a luxury that you struggle to afford. Many are just one health care crisis away from financial hardship. To make improvements that help people to live better, healthy and happier lives, we have to change the way we approach health care delivery, especially for those facing the greatest barriers to care.”
The authors, Barbara Leonard from MeHAF and Erika Ziller from the USM Muskie School, found that income, age and education are all closely associated with Maine people’s ability to receive appropriate and timely health care. Specifically, they found that among Maine adults 18 and older, those with family incomes less than $25,000 a year, young adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with less education are much more likely to:
- Delay seeking health care even when sick;
- Be unable to afford prescription medication;
- Lack access to preventative check-ups and screenings or have a regular health care provider.
In addition, their analysis also found that Maine people, of all income groups, have reported difficulties in paying medical costs.
The brief is available for download on the Maine Health Access Foundation website.
Suggested Citation: Ziller E, Leonard B. Access to Health Care Services for Adults in Maine. Augusta, ME: Maine Health Access Foundation and USM Muskie School; October, 2016.