Although research has found that requiring incarcerated individuals to pay fees for medical service decreases use, there are still important unanswered questions about this association: 1) Is the copayment fee a barrier to those seeking medical attention? 2) If so, what individual factors are associated with viewing the copayments as the reason to avoid seeing a medical professional? Using 2012 survey data collected from 45 incarcerated persons housed in a maximum security prison on the East Coast, it was discovered that over 70% of the men surveyed reported avoiding medical services at least once in the past three months due to the five dollar copayment. Further, participants with higher levels of education were significantly less likely to indicate the co-payment fee was a barrier and avoid getting medical attention, relative to those with lower levels of education. Lastly, potential explanations and policy suggestions are discussed.
The authors received no financial interest/benefits from this research.
Wyant, Brian R. PhD and Harner, Holly M.
"Financial Barriers and Utilization of Medical Services in Prison: An Examination of Co-payments, Personal Assets, and Individual Characteristics,"
Journal for Evidence-based Practice in Correctional Health: Vol. 2:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lib.uconn.edu/jepch/vol2/iss1/4