Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Higher barriers to healthcare for adults with epilepsy: Compared to adults without epilepsy, those with active or inactive epilepsy face more significant challenges in accessing necessary medical services, including affordability and availability of prescription medicine and specialty care.
  2. Insurance disparities: Adults with epilepsy are more likely to rely on Medicaid or other public insurance, which may impact their access to specialized medical services.
  3. Economic burden: A higher percentage of adults with active or inactive epilepsy report family financial difficulties due to medical bills compared to those without epilepsy, highlighting an increased economic strain.
  4. Social determinants of health: Access issues are also influenced by social determinants like transportation and provider availability, with adults having epilepsy more likely to delay care due to such barriers.
  5. Need for integrated services: Enhancing connections between clinical services and community programs can improve healthcare access for people with epilepsy, as recommended by public health practitioners and epilepsy health and social service providers.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Niu Tian,

Suggested Citation

Tian N, Kobau R, Zack MM, Greenlund KJ. Barriers to and Disparities in Access to Health Care Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years with Epilepsy — United States, 2015 and 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:697–702. DOI: .


This MMWR report details significant barriers and disparities in healthcare access among U.S. adults with epilepsy compared to those without. It emphasizes economic challenges and insurance coverage disparities that complicate healthcare access for those affected.


The study utilized pooled data from the 2015 and 2017 National Health Interview Survey, which were analyzed to assess healthcare access by epilepsy status. The sample included over 60,000 respondents, with results adjusted for age and statistically significant differences noted.


The discussion highlights the complexity of epilepsy management due to these barriers and the importance of integrating clinical care with community resources to improve access and reduce the burden of epilepsy on individuals and families.


Addressing the identified healthcare disparities requires a comprehensive public health approach that incorporates both medical and social services to effectively manage and support individuals with epilepsy.

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