For Those with Chronic and Behavioral Health Conditions, Lower Income Means Higher Health Costs

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<p>People with depression, substance abuse problems, or other behavioral health issues also often have chronic medical conditions like obesity, hypertension, or diabetes. And having both types of problems is far more likely among people with low income.</p><p>Now a new Commonwealth Fund–supported study in <em>Medical Care </em>finds that hospital and emergency care spending is much higher for low-income people with these co-occurring conditions than it is for their higher-income counterparts. </p>
<p>Researchers Peter J. Cunningham, Tiffany L. Green, and Robert T. Braun say the disparity may reflect worse health status as well as poorer access to care. </p>
<p>“Simply screening low-income people for behavioral health problems may not be sufficient,” the authors write, “unless there is greater understanding of the mechanisms that both cause and exacerbate chronic and behavioral health problems in the low-income population.”</p> Read more