Children's receipt of health care services and family health insurance patterns

Jennifer E. DeVoe, Carrie J. Tillotson, Lorraine S. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Insured children in the United States have better access to health care services; less is known about how parental coverage affects children's access to care. We examined the association between parent-child health insurance coverage patterns and children's access to health care and preventive counseling services. METHODS: We conducted secondary analyses of nationally representative, cross-sectional, pooled 2002-2006 data from children (n = 43,509), aged 2 to 17 years, in households responding to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). We assessed 9 outcome measures pertaining to children's unmet health care and preventive counseling needs. RESULTS: Cross-sectionally, among US children (aged 2 to 17 years) living with at least 1 parent, 73.6% were insured with insured parents, 8.0% were uninsured with uninsured parents, and the remaining 18.4% had discordant family insurance coverage patterns. In multivariable analyses, insured children with uninsured parents had higher odds of an insurance coverage gap (odds ratio [OR] = 2.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.02-2.97), no usual source of care (OR = 1.31; 95% CI, 1.10-1.56), unmet health care needs (OR = 1.11; 95% CI, 1.01-1.22), and having never received at least 1 preventive counseling service (OR = 1.20; 95% CI, 1.04-1.39) when compared with insured children with insured parents. Insured children with mixed parental insurance coverage had similar vulnerabilities. CONCLUSIONS: Uninsured children had the highest rates of unmet needs overall, with fewer differences based on parental insurance status. For insured children, having uninsured parents was associated with higher odds of going without necessary services when compared with having insured parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-413
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


  • Access to health care
  • Health insurance
  • Health policy
  • Primary health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


Dive into the research topics of 'Children's receipt of health care services and family health insurance patterns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this