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Womens Health Issues. 1998 May-Jun;8(3):148-58; discussion 159-68.

Adolescent pregnancy prevention in managed care.

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Medical West Associates, Chicopee, Massachusetts, USA.



Efforts by the US government, employers, and insurance industry to address women's health issues have neglected the problem of adolescent pregnancy. 30 million of the 37.4 million US adolescents have health insurance coverage and 20-40% of them are enrolled in managed care plans, either through private insurance or Medicaid. Each year, managed care insurance plans pay for 150,000-300,000 adolescent pregnancies, half of which end in a live birth. There are many gaps in current approaches to adolescent health care that can be filled by physicians and managed care organizations. Prevention of adolescent pregnancy would have immediate, cost-effective results. Managed care insurance, with its organizational structure, has the potential to address the traditional obstacles to adolescent reproductive health of lack of confidentiality and difficulties with access. An adolescent health care coordinator could be hired to track teen care within the insurance plan, educate staff, and arrange and enforce protocols. It would be instructive to see whether such case management could achieve reductions in repeat adolescent pregnancies by targeting follow-up activities to this risk group. Finally, managed care organizations should analyze teen pregnancy prevention programs in their own setting and select the most effective interventions on the basis of cost and medical outcome rather than political expediency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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