Children in the United States with discontinuous health insurance coverage
ABSTRACT Estimates of the number of uninsured people in the United States usually exclude those with discontinuous coverage. The effects of gaps in insurance coverage for children on access to and use of ambulatory care are poorly understood.
We analyzed a sample of 26,955 children under 18 years of age from the 2000 and 2001 National Health Interview Surveys. Children with discontinuous health insurance coverage were compared with those who were uninsured all year and with those who had public or private full-year coverage.
During the last 12 months before they were interviewed, 6.6 percent of children in the United States had no insurance and an additional 7.7 percent had gaps in insurance. Children who had full-year insurance coverage (private or public) had low rates of unmet health care needs and good access to care (delayed care, unmet medical care, and unfilled prescriptions were reported in <3 percent, and <5 percent had no usual place of care). Access to care was much worse for children who were uninsured for part of the year and for those who were uninsured for the full year (delayed care, 20.2 percent and 15.9 percent, respectively; unmet medical care, 13.4 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively; unfilled prescriptions, 9.9 percent and 10.0 percent, respectively; P<0.01 for all comparisons with children with full-year, private insurance coverage). In multivariate analyses adjusting for age, income, race or ethnic group, region, citizenship, family structure, parental employment, and health status, the differences in access to care persisted. As compared with the parents of children with full-year, private insurance, parents of children uninsured for the full year were far more likely to report delaying care (adjusted odds ratio, 12.65; 95 percent confidence interval, 9.45 to 16.94), as were parents of children uninsured for part of the year (adjusted odds ratio, 13.65; 95 percent confidence interval, 10.41 to 17.90).
Children with gaps in health insurance coverage commonly do not seek medical care, including preventive visits, and do not get prescriptions filled. These findings are important for both research and policy and point to the need for more encompassing and sensitive measures of the situation of being uninsured.
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ABSTRACT: Six million US children have no health insurance, and substantial racial/ethnic disparities exist. The design, methods, and baseline characteristics are described for Kids' Health Insurance by Educating Lots of Parents (Kids' HELP), the first randomized, clinical trial of the effectiveness of Parent Mentors (PMs) in insuring uninsured minority children. Latino and African-American children eligible for but not enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP were randomized to PMs, or a control group receiving traditional Medicaid/CHIP outreach. PMs are experienced parents with ≥1 Medicaid/CHIP-covered children. PMs received two days of training, and provide intervention families with information on Medicaid/CHIP eligibility, assistance with application submission, and help maintaining coverage. Primary outcomes include obtaining health insurance, time interval to obtain coverage, and parental satisfaction. A blinded assessor contacts subjects monthly for one year to monitor outcomes. Of 49,361 candidates screened, 329 fulfilled eligibility criteria and were randomized. The mean age is seven years for children and 32years for caregivers; 2/3 are Latino, 1/3 are African-American, and the mean annual family income is $21,857. Half of caregivers were unaware that their uninsured child is Medicaid/CHIP eligible, and 95% of uninsured children had prior insurance. Fifteen PMs completed two-day training sessions. All PMs are female and minority, 60% are unemployed, and the mean annual family income is $20,913. Post-PM-training, overall knowledge/skills test scores significantly increased, and 100% reported being very satisfied/satisfied with the training. Kids' HELP successfully reached target populations, met participant enrollment goals, and recruited and trained PMs. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Contemporary Clinical Trials 12/2014; 40. DOI:10.1016/j.cct.2014.11.015 · 1.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Even as the number of children with health insurance has increased, coverage transitions-movement into and out of coverage and between public and private insurance-have become more common. Using data from 1996 to 2005, we examine whether insurance instability has implications for access to primary care. Because unobserved factors related to parental behavior and child health may affect both the stability of coverage and utilization, we estimate the relationship between insurance and the probability that a child has at least one physician visit per year using a model that includes child fixed effects to account for unobserved heterogeneity. Although we find that unobserved heterogeneity is an important factor influencing cross-sectional correlations, conditioning on child fixed effects we find a statistically and economically significant relationship between insurance coverage stability and access to care. Children who have part-year public or private insurance are more likely to have at least one doctor's visit than children who are uninsured for a full year, but less likely than children with full-year coverage. We find comparable effects for public and private insurance. Although cross-sectional analyses suggest that transitions directly between public and private insurance are associated with lower rates of utilization, the evidence of such an effect is much weaker when we condition on child fixed effects.International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics 02/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10754-014-9141-1 · 0.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Publicly financed insurance programs are tasked with maintaining coverage for eligible children, but published measures to assess coverage have not been evaluated. Therefore, we sought to identify and categorize measures of health insurance continuity for children and adolescents. We conducted a systematic review of Medline and HealthStar databases, review of reference lists of eligible articles, and contact with experts. We categorized measures into 8 domains based on a conceptual framework. We identified 147 measures from 84 eligible articles. Most measures evaluated the following domains: always insured (41%), repeatedly uninsured (36%), and transition out of coverage (29%), while fewer assessed single gap in coverage, always uninsured, transition into coverage, change in coverage, and eligibility. Only 18% of measures assessed associations between continuity of coverage and child and adolescent health outcomes. These results suggest that a number of measures of continuity of coverage exist, but few measures have assessed impact on outcomes.Medical Care Research and Review 11/2013; 71(2). DOI:10.1177/1077558713504245 · 2.57 Impact Factor