The Effects of Health Insurance and a Usual Source of Care on a Child's Receipt of Health Care

Jennifer E. DeVoe, Carrie J. Tillotson, Lorraine S. Wallace, Sarah E. Lesko, Heather Angier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction: Although recent health care reforms will expand insurance coverage for U.S. children, disparities regarding access to pediatric care persist, even among the insured. We investigated the separate and combined effects of having health insurance and a usual source of care (USC) on children's receipt of health care services. Methods: We conducted secondary analysis of the nationally representative 2002-2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data from children (≤ 18 years of age) who had at least one health care visit and needed any additional care, tests, or treatment in the preceding year (n = 20,817). Results: Approximately 88.1% of the study population had both a USC and insurance; 1.1% had neither one; 7.6% had a USC only, and 3.2% had insurance only. Children with both insurance and a USC had the fewest unmet needs. Among insured children, those with no USC had higher rates of unmet needs than did those with a USC. Discussion: Expansions in health insurance are essential; however, it is also important for every child to have a USC. New models of practice could help to concurrently achieve these goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e25-e35
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Access to health care
  • Child health
  • Health care disparities
  • Health care reform
  • Health insurance
  • Health policy
  • Usual source of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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