Study: US Adults With Public Insurance Plans Have Higher Psychological Distress

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US adults covered by private plans or no plans at all have lower psychological distress than those with public plans such as the Affordable Care Act or Medicare. (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

US adults covered by private plans or no plans at all have lower psychological distress than those with public plans such as the Affordable Care Act or Medicare. (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – US adults covered by private insurance plans or no plans at all have lower psychological distress than those with public plans such as the Affordable Care Act or Medicare.

The new study, published in Stress & Health, analyzes data from the 2001-2010 National Health Interview Surveys to explore the relationship between Americans’ mental stress levels and the status of their health insurance coverage.

The research shows that US adults — between the ages of 18 and 64 –who have private or no health insurance had lower levels of psychological distress than those with public and other coverage such as Medicare, Medicaid or President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform, often referred to as “Obamacare.”

Americans of all ages who experienced a change in their health insurance coverage in the past year had higher levels of distress than those who had no change.

Average absolute levels of distress were higher among people with no coverage in comparison with those who were covered by private health insurance plans.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “stress” is defined as the brain’s response to both negative and positive changes. Nerve chemicals and hormones are often released, preparing the body for a possibly dangerous situation in which breathing faster or tensing muscles may be needed for reaction. The CDC lists tension, irritability, shock and anxiety as possible symptoms of stress.

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