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Access to Care

Alabama’s # 2 Health Indicator

Alabamians identified access to care as the second greatest current health concern in Alabama. Healthy People 2030 describes access to care as “the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best possible health outcomes” (Healthy People 2030). Addressing access to healthcare services improves prevention of disease and reduces disability due to disease by allowing early detection and treatment of health conditions.

Quality access to care solutions can increase a community’s quality of life, reduce preventable deaths, and increase the population’s life expectancy. A well-developed care system can give an individual access to insurance cost coverage, geographic availability, and a personal relationship with the provider. This allows the community to gain entry into the healthcare system, access a healthcare location where needed services are provided, and find a healthcare provider with whom the individual can communicate and trust long-term.

Disproportionately Affected Populations

Anyone can be categorized as having limited access to care; however, having two or more limited access factors can decrease your overall health. Rural and underinsured individuals could be at a higher risk for not having proper access to care. Additionally, individuals who have unstable income, such as small business owners and individuals in the service industry, could be at risk of losing health insurance coverage.

Geographic Variation

Rural AL is the primary geographic location at risk for this outcome, and rurality is addressed under various health measures throughout SHA.

Alabama Access to Care Highlights

Data are retrieved from the Rural Health Information Hub, the ADPH Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

  • In 2019, a higher percentage of AL’s population was uninsured than the U.S. (17.5 percent compared to 13.6 percent).
  • Alabamians between 18-24 years old have the highest percentage of the uninsured population at 24.3 percent.

Health Indicators

Data are retrieved from the Rural Health Information Hub, the ADPH Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, and BRFSS:

These indicators were chosen because they examine different aspects of access to care including insurance status, availability of services, and transportation. These indicators were also selected because the information is easily attainable and updated somewhat frequently. More access to care indicators may be added in the future.

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Page last updated: April 26, 2022