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Nearly 25% of Mentally Ill are Uninsured

By on October 17, 2011

If you are an American with frequent  bouts of mental distress you are more likely to not have health insurance a new study says. 

Researchers examined national data collected over 16 years (1993-2009) and  found that 22.6% of people with frequent mental distress  (indicative of mental illness) were uninsured, compared with 17.7%  of those with frequent physical distress (indicative of chronic disease).  About 16.6% people with neither mental or physical distress were  uninsured. These findings reflect the most vulnerable in our society may have major barriers to access to consistent care.

People with only frequent mental distress and those with both frequent  mental and physical distress were equally likely to not have insurance,  which suggests that mental distress was the main factor, according to the  researchers. The details of the study appear in the current issue of the journal Psychiatric  Services.

The American Psychiatric Association released a press release saying, “compared to adults with insurance, those who are uninsured have less  access to recommended care, receive poorer quality care, and have worse  health outcomes.”

The purpose of the study was to establish baseline data that can be  used to assess the impact of thePresident Obama Affordable Care Act, which is scheduled  to be fully implemented in January 2014 and will provide insurance  coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans.

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