Achieving Better Quality of Care for Low-Income Populations: The Roles of Health Insurance and the Medical Home in Reducing Health Inequities

May 16, 2012 | Volume 11

Authors: Julia Berenson, M.Sc., Michelle M. Doty, Ph.D., Melinda K. Abrams, M.S., and Anthony Shih, M.D., M.P.H.
Contact: Julia Berenson, M.Sc., Research Associate, The Commonwealth Fund,
Editor: Deborah Lorber


In the United States, uninsured and low-income adults experience substantial health and health care inequities when compared with insured and higher-income individuals. A new analysis of the Commonwealth Fund 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey demonstrates that when low-income adults have both health insurance and a medical home, they are less likely to report cost-related access problems, more likely to be up-to-date with preventive screenings, and report greater satisfaction with the quality of their care. Moreover, the gaps in health care between them and higher-income populations are significantly reduced. The Affordable Care Act includes numerous provisions that will significantly expand health insurance coverage, especially to low-income patients, as well as provisions to promote medical homes. Along with supporting the full implementation of coverage expansions, it will be important for public and private stakeholders to create opportunities that enhance access to medical homes for vulnerable populations.


J. Berenson, M. M. Doty, M. K. Abrams, and A. Shih, Achieving Better Quality of Care for Low-Income Populations: The Role of Health Insurance and the Medical Home for Reducing Health Inequities, The Commonwealth Fund, May 2012.