Effects of insurance status on children's access to specialty care: a systematic review of the literature.
ABSTRACT: The current climate of rising health care costs has led many health insurance programs to limit benefits, which may be problematic for children needing specialty care. Findings from pediatric primary care may not transfer to pediatric specialty care because pediatric specialists are often located in academic medical centers where institutional rules determine accepted insurance. Furthermore, coverage for pediatric specialty care may vary more widely due to systematic differences in inclusion on preferred provider lists, lack of availability in staff model HMOs, and requirements for referral. Our objective was to review the literature on the effects of insurance status on children's access to specialty care.We conducted a systematic review of original research published between January 1, 1992 and July 31, 2006. Searches were performed using Pubmed.Of 30 articles identified, the majority use number of specialty visits or referrals to measure access. Uninsured children have poorer access to specialty care than insured children. Children with public coverage have better access to specialty care than uninsured children, but poorer access compared to privately insured children. Findings on the effects of managed care are mixed.Insurance coverage is clearly an important factor in children's access to specialty care. However, we cannot determine the structure of insurance that leads to the best use of appropriate, quality care by children. Research about specific characteristics of health plans and effects on health outcomes is needed to determine a structure of insurance coverage that provides optimal access to specialty care for children.
Project description:Six million US children are uninsured, despite two-thirds being eligible for Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and minority children are at especially high risk. The most effective way to insure uninsured children, however, is unclear.We conducted a randomized trial of the effects of parent mentors (PMs) on insuring uninsured minority children. PMs were experienced parents with ?1 Medicaid/CHIP-covered child who received 2 days of training, then assisted families for 1 year with insurance applications, retaining coverage, medical homes, and social needs; controls received traditional Medicaid/CHIP outreach. The primary outcome was obtaining insurance 1 year post-enrollment.We enrolled 237 participants (114 controls; 123 in PM group). PMs were more effective (P< .05 for all comparisons) than traditional methods in insuring children (95% vs 68%), and achieving faster coverage (median = 62 vs 140 days), high parental satisfaction (84% vs 62%), and coverage renewal (85% vs 60%). PM children were less likely to have no primary care provider (15% vs 39%), problems getting specialty care (11% vs 46%), unmet preventive (4% vs 22%) or dental (18% vs 31%) care needs, dissatisfaction with doctors (6% vs 16%), and needed additional income for medical expenses (6% vs 13%). Two years post-PM cessation, more PM children were insured (100% vs 76%). PMs cost $53.05 per child per month, but saved $6045.22 per child insured per year.PMs are more effective than traditional Medicaid/CHIP methods in insuring uninsured minority children, improving health care access, and achieving parental satisfaction, but are inexpensive and highly cost-effective.
Project description:The cost of mental health services has always been a great barrier to accessing care for people with mental health problems. This article documents changes in insurance coverage and cost for mental health services for people with public insurance, private insurance, and no coverage. In 2009-10 people with mental health problems were more likely to have public insurance and less likely to have private insurance than in 1999-2000. Although access to specialty care remained relatively stable for people with mental illnesses, cost barriers to care increased among the uninsured and the privately insured who had serious mental illnesses. The rise in cost barriers among those with private insurance suggests that the current financing of care in the private insurance market is insufficient to alleviate cost burdens and has implications for reforms under the Affordable Care Act. People with mental health problems who are newly eligible to purchase private insurance under the act might still encounter high cost barriers to accessing care.
Project description:The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had a profound impact on health insurance coverage of children. Given the importance of pediatric specialty care, this study assessed access to pediatric orthopedic urgent care for a child's likely operative distal radius fracture. Researchers called 180 pediatric orthopedic surgeons in 8 states requesting appointments for the caller's fictitious 11-year-old child who suffered a distal radius fracture. Each office was called twice to assess the ability to obtain an appointment for Medicaid and privately insured patients. Overall, significantly fewer offices scheduled appointments for Medicaid than privately insured patients (38.3% vs 82.8%, P < .001). Patients with Medicaid in states without Medicaid expansion were more successful in obtaining appointments than patients with Medicaid in states with Medicaid expansion (41 [47%] vs 28 [30%]; P < .001; 95% confidence interval = 0.3-0.9). Pediatric Medicaid patients experienced reduced access to care, and this access was worse in states that had expanded Medicaid eligibility.
Project description:The study examined the association between private health insurance and the receipt of specialty substance use disorder treatment.Weighted logistic regressions were estimated to examine the association between health insurance and the receipt of any specialty substance use disorder treatment in national samples of nonelderly adults with alcohol abuse or dependence (N=22,778), alcohol dependence (N=10,104), drug abuse or dependence (N=9,427), and drug dependence (N=6,736). Receipt of any specialty substance abuse treatment was compared among the uninsured and privately insured persons who reported known coverage, no coverage, or unknown coverage for alcohol and drug abuse treatment. Regressions adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, treatment need, criminal justice involvement, and year of survey.Compared with being uninsured, private insurance was associated with greater use of any specialty substance use disorder treatment only among those with alcohol dependence with known coverage for alcohol treatment (p<.05).Private insurance was associated with increased use of specialty treatment among persons with severe alcohol use disorders who knew they had coverage for alcohol abuse treatment.
Project description:Despite expansions in public health insurance programs, millions of US children lack coverage. Nearly two-thirds of Oregon's uninsured children seem to be eligible for public insurance.We sought to identify uninsured but eligible children and to examine how parental coverage affects children's insurance status.We collected primary data from families enrolled in Oregon's food stamp program, which has similar eligibility requirements to public health insurance in Oregon. In this cross-sectional, multivariable analysis, results from 2861 surveys were weighted back to a population of 84,087 with nonresponse adjustment. Key predictor variables were parental insurance status and type of insurance; the outcome variable was children's insurance status.Nearly 11% of children, presumed eligible for public insurance, were uninsured. Uninsurance among children was associated with being Hispanic, having an employed parent, and higher household earnings (133-185% of the federal poverty level). Children with an uninsured parent were more likely to be uninsured, compared with those who had insured parents (adjusted odds ratio 14.21, 95% confidence interval 9.23-20.34). More surprisingly, there was a higher rate of uninsured children among privately-insured parents, compared with parents covered by public insurance (adjusted odds ratio 4.39, 95% confidence interval 2.00-9.66).Low-income Oregon parents at the higher end of the public insurance income threshold and those with private insurance were having the most difficulty keeping their children insured. These findings suggest that when parents succeed in pulling themselves out of poverty and gaining employment with private health insurance coverage, children may be getting left behind.
Project description:There is a popular perception that insurance coverage will reduce overuse of the emergency department (ED). Both opponents and advocates of expanding insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have made statements to the effect that EDs have been jammed with the uninsured and that paying for the uninsured population's emergency care has burdened the health care system as a result of the expense of that care. It has therefore been surprising to many to encounter evidence that insurance coverage increases ED use instead of decreasing it. Two facts may help explain this unexpected finding. First, there is a common misperception that the uninsured use the ED more than the insured. In fact, insured and uninsured adults use the ED at very similar rates and in very similar circumstances-and the uninsured use the ED substantially less than the Medicaid population. Second, while the uninsured do not use the ED more than the insured, they do use other types of care much less than the insured.
Project description:PURPOSE:Health insurance coverage affects a patient's ability to access optimal care, the percentage of insured patients on a clinic's panel has an impact on the clinic's ability to provide needed health care services, and there are racial and ethnic disparities in coverage in the United States. Thus, we aimed to assess changes in insurance coverage at community health center (CHC) visits after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion by race and ethnicity. METHODS:We undertook a retrospective, observational study of visit payment type for CHC patients aged 19 to 64 years. We used electronic health record data from 10 states that expanded Medicaid and 6 states that did not, 359 CHCs, and 870,319 patients with more than 4 million visits. Our analyses included difference-in-difference (DD) and difference-in-difference-in-difference (DDD) estimates via generalized estimating equation models. The primary outcome was health insurance type at each visit (Medicaid-insured, uninsured, or privately insured). RESULTS:After the ACA was implemented, uninsured visit rates decreased for all racial and ethnic groups. Hispanic patients experienced the greatest increases in Medicaid-insured visit rates after ACA implementation in expansion states (rate ratio [RR] = 1.77; 95% CI, 1.56-2.02) and the largest gains in privately insured visit rates in nonexpansion states (RR = 3.63; 95% CI, 2.73-4.83). In expansion states, non-Hispanic white patients had twice the magnitude of decrease in uninsured visits compared with Hispanic patients (DD = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.53-2.70), and this relative change was more than 2 times greater in expansion states compared with nonexpansion states (DDD = 2.06; 95% CI, 1.52-2.78). CONCLUSION:The lower rates of uninsured visits for all racial and ethnic groups after ACA implementation suggest progress in expanding coverage to CHC patients; this progress, however, was not uniform when comparing expansion with nonexpansion states and among all racial and ethnic minority subgroups. These findings suggest the need for continued and more equitable insurance expansion efforts to eliminate health insurance disparities.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of local uninsurance rates on access to health care for the uninsured and insured and improve on recent studies by controlling for time-invariant differences across markets. DATA SOURCES: Individual-level data from the 1996 and 2003 Community Tracking Study, and market-level data from other sources, including the Area Resource File and the Bureau of Primary Healthcare. STUDY DESIGN: Market-level fixed effects models estimate the effect of changes in uninsurance rates within markets on access to care, measured by whether individuals report forgoing necessary care. Instrumental variables models are also estimated. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Increases in the rate of uninsurance are associated with poorer access to necessary care among the uninsured. In contrast with recent evidence, increases in uninsurance had no effect on access to care among the insured. Instrumental variables results are similar, although not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Changes in rates of insurance coverage are likely to affect access to care for both previously and continuously uninsured. In contrast with earlier studies, there is no evidence of spillover effects on the insured, suggesting that such policy changes may have little effect on access for those who are already insured.
Project description:Thousands of adults lost coverage after Oregon's Medicaid program implemented cost containment policies in March 2003. Despite the continuation of comprehensive public health coverage for children, the percentage of uninsured children in the state rose from 10.1 percent in 2002 to 12.3 percent in 2004 (over 110,000 uninsured children). Among the uninsured children, over half of them were likely eligible for public health insurance coverage.To examine barriers low-income families face when attempting to access children's health insurance. To examine possible links between Medicaid cutbacks in adult coverage and children's loss of coverage.Statewide primary data from low-income households enrolled in Oregon's food stamp program.Cross-sectional analysis. The primary predictor variable was whether or not any adults in the household recently lost Medicaid coverage. The main outcome variables were children's current insurance status and children's insurance coverage gaps.A mail-return survey instrument was designed to collect information from a stratified, random sample of households with children presumed eligible for publicly funded health insurance programs.Over 10 percent of children in the study population eligible for publicly funded health insurance programs were uninsured, and over 25 percent of these children had gaps in insurance coverage during a 12-month period. Low-income children who were most likely to be uninsured or have coverage gaps were Hispanic; were teenagers older than 14; were in families at the higher end of the income threshold; had an employed parent; or had a parent who was uninsured. Fifty percent of the uninsured children lived in a household with at least one adult who had recently lost Medicaid coverage, compared with only 40 percent of insured children (p=.040). Similarly, over 51 percent of children with a recent gap in insurance coverage had an adult in the household who lost Medicaid, compared with only 38 percent of children without coverage gaps (p<.0001). After adjusting for ethnicity, age, household income, and parental employment, children living in a household with an adult who lost Medicaid coverage after recent cutbacks had a higher likelihood of having no current health insurance (OR 1.44, 95 percent CI 1.02, 2.04), and/or having an insurance gap (OR 1.79, 95 percent CI 1.36, 2.36).Uninsured children and those with recent coverage gaps were more likely to have adults in their household who lost Medicaid coverage after recent cutbacks. Although current fiscal constraints prevent many states from expanding public health insurance coverage to more parents, states need to be aware of the impact on children when adults lose coverage. It is critical to develop strategies to keep parents informed regarding continued eligibility and benefits for their children and to reduce administrative barriers to children's enrollment and retention in public health insurance programs.
Project description:The Affordable Care Act has provided health insurance to a large portion of the uninsured in the United States. However, different types of health insurance provide varying amounts of reimbursements to providers, which may lead to different types of treatment, potentially worsening health outcomes in patients covered by low-reimbursement insurance plans, such as Medicaid. The objective was to determine differences in access, treatment, and health outcomes by insurance type, using hospital fixed effects.We conducted a multivariate regression analysis using patient-level data for nonelderly adult patients with acute myocardial infarction in California from January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2014, as well as hospital-level information to control for differences between hospitals. The probability of Medicaid-insured and uninsured patients having access to catheterization laboratory was higher by 4.50 and 3.75 percentage points, respectively, relative to privately insured patients. When controlling for access to percutaneous coronary intervention facilities, however, Medicaid-insured and uninsured patients had a 4.24- and 0.85-percentage point lower probability, respectively, in receiving percutaneous coronary intervention treatment compared with privately insured patients. They also had higher mortality and readmission rates relative to privately insured patients.Although Medicaid-insured and uninsured patients with acute myocardial infarction had better access to catheterization laboratories, they had significantly lower probabilities of receiving percutaneous coronary intervention treatment and a higher likelihood of death and readmission compared with privately insured patients. This provides empirical evidence that treatment received and health outcomes strongly vary between Medicaid-insured, uninsured, and privately insured patients, with Medicaid-insured patients most disproportionately affected, despite having better access to cardiac technology.