For some Americans, seeing a doctor is as simple as calling the same office they have called for 20 years. For others, it can be a lot less certain.
Which one of those you are could make a big difference in the overall quality of your health.
Looking at data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, which collects health information based on household interviews in every state and Washington DC, CDC researchers found that the percentage of adults who don’t have a go-to place for medical care ranged anywhere from a low of 2.8% of people without in Vermont, to 26.7% of people in Nevada.
See how your state stacks up:
On average, 17.3% of all adults 18-64 in the US didn’t have a place where they typically got medical care.
Having a place to go when you’re starting to feel sick could have a huge effect on timing — for example, catching and treating an infection early rather than waiting until the only option is the emergency room. Having a medical center is also a key way to make sure people go in for frequent check-ups that can help prevent problems down the line.
The researchers noted that in states with Medicaid (the federal and state healthcare program for low-income families and individuals) expansion, the per cent of people without a go-to medical center was lower than in states without the expansion.
When it came to the percentage of adults who hadn’t talked to a doctor in the last year, those numbers also varied by state, ranging from Vermont at 15.9% of all adults not seeing a doctor, to almost half of all adults in Montana not seeing a doctor in the past year.
On a national average, about a third of US adults had not seen a doctor in the past year.
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