The poor and less educated in Canada are more likely to use health care than their counterparts in the United States

Disparities/Minority Health

Low-income, less-educated and foreign-born individuals are more likely to use health care services in Canada than in the United States, reveals a new study. These differences were especially large among health care services that are likely to be expensive, such as visits to specialists and physicians, or having a medical doctor as a regular source of care. However, low-income, less educated, and foreign-born residents in the United States were more likely to use preventive care services than corresponding subpopulations in Canada. The use of preventive services like mammograms and Pap smears was considerably higher in the United States than in Canada. For individuals with high income and higher education, utilization rates were similar between the two countries and, in some instances, higher in the United States than in Canada.

The findings suggest that the health system in Canada might have played an important role in improving access to care for subpopulations examined in this study, note Yuriy Pylypchuk, Ph.D., of Georgetown Public Policy Institute, and Eric M. Sarpong, Ph.D., of AHRQ. Their findings were based on data from two nationally representative surveys, AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, and the Canadian Community Health Survey for Canada.

See "Comparison of health care utilization: United States versus Canada," by Drs. Pylypchuk and Sarpong, in the April 2013 HSR: Health Services Research 48, pp. 560-581. Reprints (AHRQ Publication No. 13-R017) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

MWS

Page last reviewed April 2013
Internet Citation: The poor and less educated in Canada are more likely to use health care than their counterparts in the United States: Disparities/Minority Health. April 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/13apr/0413RA10.html