One in five Americans don't have a regular doctor, study shows

Feb 01, 2011

Those without a regular doctor may be walking around with illnesses they are unaware they have.

Nearly 60 million Americans do not have a regular doctor, according to a recent brief released by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The reasons for the lack of a family doctor varied widely, sometimes along racial lines. Twelve percent of asians stated their avoidance of doctors was simply because they did not trust them while more than 60 percent of African-American respondents said they don't have a family doctor because they are seldom ill. The largest racial group to not have a family doctor was Hispanics, with 22 percent reporting that they did not visit a regular family care physician.

Another division occurred between the insured and the uninsured, with 29 percent of uninsured people stating that the high cost of healthcare was their main deterrent, versus only 4 percent of insured people.

The lack of family care doctors may partially explain the high number of people visiting emergency rooms for routine medical checkups. It may also explain why some people with symptomless illnesses are unaware of their afflictions and go for long periods of time before getting them checked out. For people without regular doctors, it is even more important to obtain a life insurance policy, since they risk having a deadly illness that they are simply unaware of.

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