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Health Insurance and Use of Eye Care Services

Among adults with vision problems, 62.3% (95% CI, 60.3-64.3) of Americans reported having seen an eye care professional in the previous 12 months compared with 55.0% (95% CI, 52.5- 57.4) of Canadians. Privately insured Americans had a higher age-adjusted rate of use of eye care services (67%) than did other Americans or Canadians. Age-adjusted rates of service among publicly insured Americans and Canadians were similar (55% vs 56%), and Americans with no health insurance coverage had the lowest rate (42%). Only 4% of Americans without health insurance reported having optional vision insurance, compared with 58% of Americans with private health insurance, 44% of Americans with public health insurance, and 54% of Canadians.

Use of eye care services among adults with vision problems by type of health insurance

Privately insured Americans had a higher age-adjusted rate of eye-care service usage (67%) than did other Americans or Canadians. Age-adjusted rates of service among publicly insured Americans and Canadians were similar (55% vs. 56%), and Americans with no health insurance coverage had the lowest rate (42%).

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Adults with vision problems who lack optional vision insurance by type of health insurance

Only 4% of Americans without health insurance coverage reported having optional vision insurance, whereas 58% of Americans with private health insurance, 44% of Americans with public health insurance, and 54% Canadian residents did.

Data Source: 2002–2003 Joint Canada/United States Survey of Health

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Zhang X, Lee PP, Thompson TJ, et al. Health insurance coverage and use of eye care services. Arch Ophthalmol 2008;126(8):1121–1126.

Note: Age-adjusted percentages were calculated using the projected 2000 US standard population. US-Private represents respondents who had private health insurance with or without public insurance; US-Public, respondents who had only public health insurance including Medicare, Medicaid, Indian Health Service insurance, military insurance, or other public or government insurance; and US-None, respondents who had no health insurance; and Canada, where all respondents had government-provided health insurance. Error bars indicate 95% confidence intervals.
 

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