Perceived and Actual Health of the Insured and Uninsured

This may not come as much of a surprise, but Americans who have health insurance generally have better health habits than those without. According to a Gallup poll, insured Americans under the age of 65 are more likely than those who are uninsured to develop at least one healthy habit that can increase the odds of living longer.

However, Gallup admits that it’s not entirely clear why insured Americans are more likely to engage in health behaviors, such as not smoking.

An earlier Gallup poll also showed that insured Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 rate their overall health more positively. The vast majority those with health insurance (84%) say their health is excellent, good or very good compared to 69% without.

The reason why insured Americans have a more positive view of their health could be because they are more aware of their actual health situations because of access to a physician. It could also be because regular doctor visits cause them to take greater care.

Despite that, the poll showed no clear relationship between having health insurance and actual physical health — compared to perceived physical health.

Possibly only because they have greater access to physicians those who are insured are more likely to be diagnosed with high cholesterol. It’s possible that the uninsured are just as likely to have high cholesterol but do not know. Meanwhile, the uninsured are more likely to be told by a doctor or nurse that they have depression. For other medical conditions there wasn’t any significant difference between diagnoses for the insured versus the uninsured.