Factors associated with delaying medical care: cross-sectional study of Nebraska adults

Kendra L. Ratnapradipa, Snehal Jadhav, Josiane Kabayundo, Hongmei Wang, Lisa C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Delayed medical care may result in adverse health outcomes and increased cost. Our purpose was to identify factors associated with delayed medical care in a primarily rural state. Methods: Using a stratified random sample of 5,300 Nebraska households, we conducted a cross-sectional mailed survey with online response option (27 October 2020 to 8 March 2021) in English and Spanish. Multiple logistic regression models calculated adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals. Results: The overall response rate was 20.8% (n = 1,101). Approximately 37.8% of Nebraskans ever delayed healthcare (cost-related 29.7%, transportation-related 3.7%), with 22.7% delaying care in the past year (10.1% cost-related). Cost-related ever delay was associated with younger age [< 45 years aOR 6.17 (3.24–11.76); 45–64 years aOR 2.36 (1.29–4.32)], low- and middle-income [< $50,000 aOR 2.85 (1.32–6.11); $50,000-$74,999 aOR 3.06 (1.50–6.23)], and no health insurance [aOR 3.56 (1.21–10.49)]. Transportation delays were associated with being non-White [aOR 8.07 (1.54–42.20)], no bachelor’s degree [≤ high school aOR 3.06 (1.02–9.18); some college aOR 4.16 (1.32–13.12)], and income < $50,000 [aOR 8.44 (2.18–32.63)]. Those who did not have a primary care provider were 80% less likely to have transportation delays [aOR 0.20 (0.05–0.80)]. Conclusions: Delayed care affects more than one-third of Nebraskans, primarily due to financial concerns, and impacting low- and middle-income families. Transportation-related delays are associated with more indicators of low socio-economic status. Policies targeting minorities and those with low- and middle-income, such as Medicaid expansion, would contribute to addressing disparities resulting from delayed care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Access to care
  • Health care costs
  • Healthcare delays
  • Healthcare utilization
  • Rural setting
  • Transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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