215158 Voices of underinsured Kansans

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 8:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Sharon T. Barfield, MSW, LSCSW , Kansas Health Institute, Topeka, KS
Andrew C. Ward, MPH, PhD , Kansas Health Institute, Topeka, KS
For most people in the United States, health insurance is the primary means by which they gain access to health care services. However, insurance guarantees neither adequate coverage nor access. Recent national reports indicate that tens of millions of people have insurance that inadequately covers their health care expenses, a situation that results in adverse consequences including financial strain, medical debt, and postponing needed care. These individuals are underinsured. Moreover, policy and employer efforts to increase enrollment via affordable health plans have increased the number of persons who are underinsured. While extant data quantifying the prevalence and demographics of underinsured Kansans are very limited, even less is known about the phenomenological aspects of the issue. As part of a larger mixed methods examination of underinsurance in Kansas and to gain an in-depth understanding of how underinsurance impacts families, in fall 2009, we conducted structured interviews with 10 underinsured Kansans. They came from different walks of life such as farming, business, and teaching, lived in different parts of the state, and ranged in age from 25 to 78. The qualitative data analyses used grounded theory to identify emergent themes and develop personal narratives. In presenting findings, we will discuss 1) the analytic methodology used, 2) when and how participants realized they were underinsured, 3) challenges people faced due to being underinsured (e.g., financial strain), 4) individuals' experiences with providers, and 5) biopsychosocial dynamics noted such as worsened health and new medical conditions stemming from postponed care and psychological distress.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to describe qualitative research methods, evaluate how underinsurance impacts families, and discuss policy implications and next steps of inquiry.

Keywords: Access, Insurance-Related Barriers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have experience with qualitative and quantitative methods and have made national presentations such as for the Society for Social Work and Research. Subsequent to five years conducting research and evaluations at The University of Kansas, I have been an Analyst with the Kansas Health Institute. I have taught research for 10 years. I have a MSW and am a LSCSW.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.