DENVER The high cost of health care is deterring parents from taking their children to the doctor or buying prescription medication, regardless of how much money they make or whether they have health insurance, according to a study to be presented Sunday, May 2, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Denver.
Previous research has shown that families who have difficulty paying their medical bills may delay or forgo needed care. In this study, researchers sought to determine factors that affect families' decisions to put off or go without care, including the cost of health care relative to a family's income and having a child with a physical, social, behavioral or cognitive limitation such as asthma, autism or obesity.
Investigators, led by Lauren E. Wisk, a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the School of Medicine and Public Health at University of Wisconsin, Madison, examined data from the 2001-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys on 6,273 families with at least one child. Excessive financial burden was defined as insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health care expenses exceeding 10 percent of family income. Delayed or forgone care was defined as putting off or going without medical care or prescription medications for a parent or child due to cost and/or insurance-related reasons.
Results showed that experiencing excessive financial burden, having a child with an ongoing activity limitation and a parent having intermittent insurance all increased the likelihood that families would delay or go without care. However, when the parent and child had the same insurance, they were more likely to get the care they needed.
Additionally, significant racial/ethnic and income-related disparities existed in the experience of delayed or forgone care. For example, non-Hispanic black families were less likely to report delayed or forgone care than non-Hispanic white families. Meanwhile, famil
|Contact: Susan Martin|
American Academy of Pediatrics