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 and the Maine Health Access Foundation show that uninsured, low-income Mainers have trouble finding doctors, getting health care appointments, and paying for care. Compared with their insured counterparts, a higher percentage of uninsured, low-income Mainers went without or delayed care, or were unable to purchase needed prescriptions. Over half of uninsured, low-income adults in the study 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 low-income, uninsured survey participants also reported they had problems paying medical bills. Even one third of low-income individuals with coverage reported such problems.

Data notes: The findings in this data brief are based on data from Maine’s oversample of the Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS), a national survey of the nonelderly population designed to monitor the Affordable Care Act. 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.

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

Maine Health Access Foundation

Sociodemographi-Health-Status-Maine-Low-Income-Childless-Adults-2019.pdf (527 kB)
Low-Income, Uninsured Mainers Face Substantial Challenges Getting Health Care