Lack of access due to costs remains a problem for some in Massachusetts despite the state’s health reforms.

Did the Massachusetts health reforms, which provided near-universal insurance coverage, also address problems of unmet need resulting from the cost of care and of inadequate preventive care for diverse patient groups? We found that nearly a quarter of adults who were in fair or poor health reported being unable to see a doctor because of cost during the implementation of the reforms. We also found that state residents earning less than $25,000 per year were much less likely than higher earners to receive screening for cardiovascular disease and cancer. The state needs to implement new strategies to build on the promise of universal coverage and address specific needs of vulnerable populations, such as limiting out-of-pocket spending for this group. Also, more data are needed on the social determinants of health to identify specific barriers related to cost and access for vulnerable groups that general insurance reforms may not address.