Erie Vital Signs

Availability and Utilization of Healthcare Services: Cost of Healthcare

Recent Performance

This trend is negative or needs improvement.

In Erie County, the rate of adults who needed health care but did not see a doctor because of the cost has slowly increased from 8 percent in 1999 to 13 percent in 2013* and is no longer lower than the rate across Pennsylvania. However, the rate for Erie County remains lower than the national rate of 15 percent.

Those most likely to forego health care due to cost include Erie County residents who are not high school graduates, residents who earn less than $25,000 a year, and 18-to-44 year olds.

*2013 indicates data for the period 2011-13.

Note: Much of the data for the Health Indicators come from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey. Each metro area decides whether or not to participate each year, so these indicators often do not have data for every year for every metro area. As a result, the graphs show markers (dots, diamonds, etc.) for the individual years rather than lines. If there are data for consecutive years, the markers will be joined with a line on the graphs.


The Basics

This indicator reports the percentage of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey respondents who answered “yes” to the survey question: Was there a time in the past 12 months when you needed to see a doctor but could not because of cost?

Why It's Important

It is better to see a doctor early when you have health problems. Delaying or not receiving needed medical care can result in more serious illness, increased complications, and longer hospital stays.

The Details

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) is a telephone based health survey of adults age 18 and above. Both landline and cell phone users are included. Initiated in 1984 by the CDC, it is now administered nationally, statewide, regionally, and locally. The survey focuses on health care access, health conditions, risk behaviors, and preventive health practices. Standardized questions allow comparison among various population groups. For 2013, Erie County used 3-Year Sum County Level data, for years 2011-2013, which was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Similar 3-Year Sum data for Pennsylvania was used for comparison.

The Nitty-Gritty Details

Subcategories

This EVS indicator has no subcategories. The raw data for Erie County do provide data for subcategories based on sex, age, education, income, and race.

Peer Areas

The BRFSS data are available for Erie, the state of Pennsylvania, and the United States. Data is also available for the following thirteen of the standard peer selected metropolitan/micropolitan statistical areas (MMSAs): Akron OH, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ, Boulder CO, Cedar Rapids IA, Flint MI, Gainesville FL, Green Bay WI, Kalamazoo-Portage MI, Lansing-East Lansing MI, Laredo TX, Peoria IL, Roanoke VA, and Spartanburg SC.

Frequency

Erie County completes a BRFSS every four to five years. The survey is administered every year at the state and national level.

Source

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, administered by the Erie County Department of Health following guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pennsylvania Department of Health 3-Year Sum County Level data. Links to the data are given above under “All the Nitty-Gritty Details”.

Other Related Data

Additional Studies and Research

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