Listening to Californians With Low Incomes: Health Care Access, Experiences, and Concerns Since the COVID-19 Pandemic

Listening to Californians With Low Incomes: Health Care Access, Experiences, and Concerns Since the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the physical, emotional, and financial well-being of Californians, especially those living in poverty, a report from the California Health Care Foundation finds. Based on a statewide survey of more than twenty-two hundred adults between the ages of 18 and 64, the report, Listening to Californians With Low Incomes: Health Care Access, Experiences, and Concerns Since the COVID-19 Pandemic (37 pages, PDF), found that 31 percent of respondents had not received medical care for an urgent non-COVID health issue, while 44 percent had not received care for a mental health issue, including depression, anxiety, or an emotional problem. Among respondents with income under 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), more than a third said their mental or emotional health had become "worse" (30 percent) or a "lot worse" (6 percent) since the start of the pandemic. In addition, low-income respondents were more than twice as likely as respondents with income above 200 percent of FPL to report having experienced the death of a loved one (10 percent vs. 4 percent) or stress related to paying for basics such as food, rent, and utilities (50 percent vs. 18 percent). The survey also found that among those who have wanted to see a healthcare provider, low-income respondents were more likely to seek mental health care (68 percent vs. 53 percent), as were Latinx respondents (63 percent vs. 51 percent of white respondents), although respondents of color were less likely to receive the care they wanted (50 percent vs. 64 percent).