Family use of health care, United States, 1980
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Family use of health care, United States, 1980
  • Description:
    Information on families' use of health care in 1980 is presented in this report. The data discussed here were gathered in the national household sample of the National Medical Care Utilization and Expenditure Survey. In this sample, information was collected on health problems, health care received, expenditures for care, health insurance, and related topics throughout calendar year 1980 from approximately 6,800 families in the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population. (The report entirely excludes families with military heads, even if they have civilian members.) For this report, a family was initially defined as (1) two or more persons living together who were related by either blood, marriage, adoption, or a formal foster care relationship or (2) a single person living outside such relationships. But because these data were collected across an entire year, the important concept of "Longitudinal family" was developed. This concept was necessary to deaI with the fact that the composition of a family could change over time and that families could come into existence and go out of existence over time. As the data are based on this dynamic concept of families, all measures of the use of health services are calculated in annual rates. Family data are important for understanding the health care system because decisions to seek and use health care are usually family decisions, health care is usually paid for out of family resources, and family distributions for health-related variables differ from the distributions found for individuals. Data on both multi- pie-person families (families that averaged 1.5 persons or more during the year) and one-person families (families that averaged less than 1.5 persons during the year) are presented in this report. Only findings for multiple-person families, however, are addressed in this section. It is multiple-person families that are usually referred to in discussions of families by both the general public and professional social scientists. General Findings: The burden of illness in the U.S. population, as measured by poor or fair health on a scale of perceived health status, is much more widespread among families than among individuals. For example, 25 percent of families with all members under 65 years of age had a member whose health was rated fair or poor, compared with 10 percent of aH persons under 65. The completeness of health care coverage (by a pub_ lic coverage program or by private health insurance) also differed between families and individuals. Again comparing persons and families under 65 years of age, 29 percent of families had members without full-year coverage, compared with 19 percent of per- sons without such coverage.
  • Content Notes:
    Written by: Marvin Dicker and Jonathan H. Sunshine. Bibliography: p. 28-29.
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