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JAMA. 1995 Nov 8;274(18):1429-35.

The effect of gaps in health insurance on continuity of a regular source of care among preschool-aged children in the United States.

Author information

1
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the prevalence and length of gaps in health insurance coverage and their effect on having a regular source of care in a national sample of preschool-aged children.

DESIGN:

Follow-up survey of a nationally representative sample of 3-year-old children in the US population by phone or personal interview.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 8129 children whose mothers were interviewed for the 1991 longitudinal Follow-up to the National Maternal and infant Health Survey.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Report of any gap in health insurance for the children, the length of the gap, and the number of different sites where the children were taken for medical care as a measure of continuity of a regular source of care.

RESULTS:

About one quarter of Us children were without health insurance for at least 1 month during their first 3 years of life. Over half of these children had a health insurance gap of more than 6 months. Less than half of US children had only one site of care during their first 3 years. Children with health insurance gaps of longer than 6 months were at increased risk of having more than one care site (odds ratio = 1.52; 95% confidence interval, 1.19 to 1.96). This risk further increased when an emergency treatment was discounted as a multiple site of care.

CONCLUSIONS:

Having a gap in health insurance coverage is an important determinant for not having a regular source of care for preschool-aged children. This finding is of concern, given the sizable percentage of children in the United States who lacked continuous health care coverage during a critical period of development.

PMID:
7474188
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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