Research Activities March 2013, No. 391
Having a usual source of care is as important as having insurance in reducing children’s unmet health care needs
Insurance is important for children to receive needed care. However, having a usual source of care (USC) is as important as having insurance in reducing unmet health care needs, according to a new study. Compared to children with insurance and a USC, children with no insurance but a USC had a 17 percent increased risk of experiencing an unmet health care need, children with insurance and no USC had a 24 percent increased risk, and children with no insurance and no USC had a 91 percent increased risk of experiencing an unmet health care need. Uninsured children with a USC were not significantly more likely than children with both insurance and a USC to experience delayed urgent care, a problem in getting care, or a problem in seeing a specialist. Children with insurance but no USC were at 28 percent increased risk, and children with neither insurance nor a USC were at 76 percent increased risk to experience specific unmet needs.
The findings were based on analysis of data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Medical Expenditure Panel Survey–Household Component (2002–2007) for a study sample of children under 18 years of age who had at least one health care visit during the previous year and required additional care, tests, or treatment. The study was funded in part by AHRQ (HS16181 and HS18569).
More details are in "The effect of health insurance and a usual source of care on a child’s receipt of health care," by Jennifer E. DeVoe, M.D., D.Phil., Carrie J. Tillotson, M.P.H., Lorraine S. Wallace, Ph.D., and others in the September/October 2012 Journal of Pediatric Health Care 26(5), pp. e25–e35.