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J Adolesc Health. 2001 Jun;28(6):491-6.

Adolescent HMO enrollees' utilization of out-of-plan services.

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Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington 98112, USA.



To examine use of reproductive health services, correlates of out-of-plan care, and reasons for seeking out-of-plan care among adolescent health maintenance organization (HMO) enrollees.


We mailed a self-administered questionnaire to a population-based random sample of 18-year-old members of Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound (GHC) who had been enrolled for at least 12 months. The sample was selected from GHC's computerized enrollment database. Questionnaire topics included reproductive history, sexual behavior, and use of health services. Analysis included Chi-square tests to examine differences by gender and out-of-plan status and multivariate analysis using logistic regression.


About one-half of the 997 respondents (69% response rate) reported using out-of-plan care. In multivariate analysis, the strongest correlate of out-of-plan care was having had sexual intercourse [odds ratio (OR) = 1.84; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.35-2.52]. Other correlates were using alcohol (OR = 1.79; 95% CI = 1.29-2.48), living with parents (OR = 0.65; 95% CI =.46-.92), and being female (OR = 1.60; 95% CI = 1.21-2.11). During the prior year, over 80% of sexually active respondents had obtained contraceptives out-of-plan and 45% of those tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) reported out-of-plan testing. The primary reasons reported for using any out-of-plan care were lack of convenience (28%), being out of town (26%), and confidentiality (23%; only reported by sexually active respondents).


A substantial proportion of GHC-enrolled adolescents used out-of-plan care. Those who did were more likely to have had STDs and other health problems than those who used only in-plan services. Without continuity of care, these at-risk adolescents may not be receiving optimal services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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