NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Americans on Medicaid have a harder time getting a prompt doctor's appointment, which may help explain why some end up going to the ER, a new study finds.
The problem is likely to grow, researchers say, as more people go on Medicaid as part of national healthcare reform. So simply expanding coverage may not be enough to improve low-income Americans' access to primary care.
"Insurance coverage does not necessarily mean better access," said senior researcher Dr. Adit A. Ginde, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
The study found that of more than 230,000 Americans surveyed over a decade, Medicaid recipients had more problems getting an appointment with a primary care doctor.
Just over 16 percent reported at least one "barrier" -- like having to wait too long for an appointment, limited health clinic hours, or even being unable to get someone on the phone at the doctor's office. That compared with 9 percent of survey respondents who had private insurance. To learn more click here.