Characterizing the Health Needs of Low-Income Populations


People with low incomes are more likely than those with higher incomes to lack access to care, receive poor-quality care, and experience worse health outcomes. These disparities are even greater for low-income individuals who belong to minority groups, are recent immigrants, live in medically underserved areas, or have chronic conditions or disabilities. Identifying and monitoring the health status and health care needs of these populations is critical to the design of health care systems able to serve them effectively. Using 2008–2014 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data, this project will examine the health, economic, and sociodemographic characteristics of low-income populations to create a comprehensive profile of their health and health care needs. The project will examine differences in these characteristics by income, education, age, race and ethnicity, citizenship, as well as by geographic factors. The analysis will also provide information on the early effects of the Affordable Care Act on access, utilization, and quality of care. Project findings will help policymakers and the media gain a comprehensive understanding of the state of health and health care in low-income communities. Findings could also inform policy and payment improvements needed to implement promising care delivery models.

Grant Details

Grantee Organization:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Principal Investigator:
Peter Cunningham, Ph.D.
Award Amount:
Approval Date:
July 13, 2016

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