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Health insurance, finances may matter when parents follow doctor's orders for their kids

October 03, 2010
  • Not all parents can comply with their pediatrician's orders due to being underinsured
Not all parents can comply with their pediatrician's orders due to… (Tom Grill / Corbis )

When doctors recommend treatment for children, do parents always comply? No, but it could have to do with how much health insurance they have, a study finds.

Researchers from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Ohio surveyed 1,978 parents to see if health insurance -- or the lack of it -- was a factor in following doctors' orders. About 13% of parents said they couldn't fulfill at least one of their child's doctor's recommendations in the last year because they couldn't afford it. This constituted being underinsured by the researchers.

There was a divide among insured and underinsured children. The study authors found that children with private insurance were about two times as likely as children with public insurance to be underinsured, after they adjusted for annual family income and health status. And after controlling for various demographic factors, the authors discovered that having an annual family income between $15,000 and $34,999 was the best forecaster of a child's health taking a hit because the family couldn't pay.

Those with the lowest and highest incomes were less inclined to have a tough time getting needed healthcare for their kids, since those with the lowest incomes probably had public insurance, and those with the highest incomes likely had better private insurance than those with middle incomes.

The study was presented Sunday at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference in San Francisco.

--Jeannine Stein / Los Angeles TimesĀ 

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