Determinants of receipt of recommended preventive services: implications for the Affordable Care Act

Stacey McMorrow, Genevieve M Kenney, Dana Goin
American Journal of Public Health 2014, 104 (12): 2392-9

OBJECTIVES: We examined preventive care use by nonelderly adults (aged 18-64 years) before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and considered the contributions of insurance coverage and other factors to service use patterns.

METHODS: We used data from the 2005-2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to measure the receipt of 8 recommended preventive services. We examined gaps in receipt of services for adults with incomes below 400% of the federal poverty level compared with higher incomes. We then used a regression-based decomposition analysis to consider factors that explain the gaps in service use by income.

RESULTS: There were large income-related disparities in preventive care receipt for nonelderly adults. Differences in insurance coverage explain 25% to 40% of the disparities in preventive service use by income, but education, age, and health status are also important drivers.

CONCLUSIONS: Expanding coverage to lower-income adults through the ACA is expected to increase their preventive care use. However, the importance of education, age, and health status in explaining income-related gaps in service use indicates that the ACA cannot address all barriers to preventive care and additional interventions may be necessary.

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