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Journal Title

BMC Health Services Research

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BACKGROUND: Delayed medical care may result in adverse health outcomes and increased cost. Our purpose was to identify factors associated with delayed medical care in a primarily rural state.

METHODS: Using a stratified random sample of 5,300 Nebraska households, we conducted a cross-sectional mailed survey with online response option (27 October 2020 to 8 March 2021) in English and Spanish. Multiple logistic regression models calculated adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS: The overall response rate was 20.8% (n = 1,101). Approximately 37.8% of Nebraskans ever delayed healthcare (cost-related 29.7%, transportation-related 3.7%), with 22.7% delaying care in the past year (10.1% cost-related). Cost-related ever delay was associated with younger age [< 45 years aOR 6.17 (3.24-11.76); 45-64 years aOR 2.36 (1.29-4.32)], low- and middle-income [< $50,000 aOR 2.85 (1.32-6.11); $50,000-$74,999 aOR 3.06 (1.50-6.23)], and no health insurance [aOR 3.56 (1.21-10.49)]. Transportation delays were associated with being non-White [aOR 8.07 (1.54-42.20)], no bachelor's degree [≤ high school aOR 3.06 (1.02-9.18); some college aOR 4.16 (1.32-13.12)], and income < $50,000 [aOR 8.44 (2.18-32.63)]. Those who did not have a primary care provider were 80% less likely to have transportation delays [aOR 0.20 (0.05-0.80)].

CONCLUSIONS: Delayed care affects more than one-third of Nebraskans, primarily due to financial concerns, and impacting low- and middle-income families. Transportation-related delays are associated with more indicators of low socio-economic status. Policies targeting minorities and those with low- and middle-income, such as Medicaid expansion, would contribute to addressing disparities resulting from delayed care.

MeSH Headings

Adult, Humans, Middle Aged, Cross-Sectional Studies, Health Services Accessibility, Insurance, Health, Medicaid, Nebraska, Patient Care, United States, Delayed Diagnosis, Transportation, Health Care Costs



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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