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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2003 Aug;14(3):403-19.

Variation in preventive service use among the insured and uninsured: does length of time without coverage matter?

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  • 1Saint Louis University, USA.


Lacking health insurance has consequences for the ways in which individuals seek care. In this research, the authors use data from the first panel (1996) of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to assess the relationship between preventive services and the length of time with insurance during a 12-month period. Regression analyses show that individuals with continuous coverage during the entire period have dramatically higher rates of preventive service use than individuals who lack coverage for all 12 months. For most services, the authors also find modest differences in preventive service use between the continually insured and those individuals with coverage for 1 to 6 months. Rates of preventive service use for individuals with 7 to 11 months of coverage are statistically indistinguishable from the continually insured. The authors' findings highlight the importance of considering the length of time without coverage when evaluating preventive service use of the uninsured population.

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