Low-Income, Uninsured Mainers Face Substantial Challenges Getting Health Care

Document Type

Policy Brief

Publication Date



access, insurance, uninsured, Maine, MRHRC, Muskie School, Cutler Institute, healthcare, MeHAF, low-income, usual source of care, Health Reform Monitoring Survey, HRMS


Focusing on adults age 18 – 64 with incomes below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (in 2018, about $22,715 per year for a family of two), findings from the study by researchers at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service show that uninsured people have trouble finding doctors, getting appointments, and paying for care. Of most concern is the high number of individuals who went without, or delayed, care, or who were unable to purchase prescriptions. Over half of uninsured low-income adults in this sample reported that they did not have a usual source of care. With no usual source of care, people are less likely to receive preventive care, quickly address new health issues, and get support for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Over half of those surveyed who are uninsured also reported they had problems paying medical bills. Even one third of low-income individuals with coverage reported such problems.

Data notes: These findings in the data brief are based on data from Maine’s oversample of the Health Reform Monitoring Survey, a national survey of the nonelderly population designed to monitor the ACA. The core HRMS is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute, and the Maine Health Access Foundation has supported an oversample for Maine during Quarter 4 2013, Quarter 4 2014, Quarter 1 2016, and, Quarter 1 2017. Sample size is too small to allow analysis of changes over time.

For more information on this study and its methods, please contact Dr. Ziller at erika.ziller@maine.edu

Media contact: Barbara Leonard, President & CEO, Maine Health Access Foundation, 207.620.8266 x102, bleonard@mehaf.org


Support provided by The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF). MeHAF is Maine’s largest, private, nonprofit health care foundation dedicated to promoting access to quality health care, especially for those who are uninsured and underserved, and improving the health of everyone in Maine. MeHAF uses its grant resources and expertise to identify and move forward key initiatives and issues to improve Maine’s health care system, so people across every region of Maine have access to quality care for better health.

Funding Organization or Grant

Maine Health Access Foundation