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Report: Poverty puts up barriers even for the insured in Rochester

New data show that while more people living in poverty have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, many poverty-related barriers keep them from the care that they need.

Common Ground Health, formerly the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, has produced a new white paper, "Barriers to Health Equity: Place-based Disparities in Clinical Care," with analysis focusing on Rochester's five poorest zip codes: 14605, 14608, 14611, 14613 and 14621.

The data found that life expectancy in Rochester's 14608 zip code is a full decade lower than Pittsford's 14534 zip code.

Director of research and analytics for Common Ground Health, Albert Blankley, says that while more people are insured through the Affordable Care Act, health outcomes haven't necessarily improved.

"They still had challenges paying for certain prescriptions, or they had trouble arranging transportation to arrive at appointments that were necessary to manage chronic conditions, among a myriad of other issues," he said.

Blankley says many of the challenges and barriers that remain exist out of the health care system.

The report used asthma as a case study for understanding management of chronic disease.

The research also showed that despite having health coverage, insured individuals with asthma from poorer neighborhoods were 3 times more likely to go to the Emergency Department rather than see a specialist.

Blankley adds they hope the findings drive conversation to find ways people can get the care they need and manage their chronic conditions.

"We want to make sure we are thinking about things that create these barriers and make it easy as possible for individuals to make decisions that will result in better outcomes for them," he said.

Click here for the new report from Common Ground Health.