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Publicly Insured and Uninsured Patients are More Likely Than Other Patients to be Treated Unfairly in Healthcare Settings Because of Their Coverage Type

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Individuals without insurance and those with public coverage like Medicaid report being treated unfairly in healthcare settings at higher rates than individuals with private insurance, according to a new report from the Urban Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report is based on responses from a nationally representative group of 9,067 U.S. adults polled in April 2021 as part of the Urban Institute’s annual Health Reform Monitoring Survey.

Key findings from the report

  • Nearly one in 10 adults with public health coverage (9.6%) reported experiencing unfair treatment or judgment in a clinical setting because of their insurance status.
  • Only 1.3 percent of adults with private insurance reported unfair treatment of judgment.
  • Adults with public coverage were about 1.5 times more likely to report insurance-related hassles than those with private coverage (16.2% versus 11%).
  • When examining unfair treatment or judgment in a clinical setting due to race or ethnicity, researchers found that patients reported unfair treatment or judgment from clinical providers and front office staff at nearly equal rates.

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