July 20, 2015
1 min read

Insurance, income predict use of preventive services among adults

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Adults who have higher incomes or have private health insurance are more likely to receive preventive services, which are available for nine out of 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., according to recently published data.

Researchers evaluated data from the 2011 and 2012 National Health Interview Survey to assess the use of nine preventive services among adults aged 18 years and older (n = 67,539). Services included blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, colon cancer screening, diet counseling, fasting blood glucose test, hepatitis A vaccination, hepatitis B vaccination, mammogram and Pap test, all of which require no copay or deductible under many health plans, per the Affordable Care Act. 

Results demonstrated that among participants, 12.7% received hepatitis A vaccination; 23.6% received colon cancer screening; 26.9% received diet counseling; 38.8% received hepatitis B vaccination; 45.3% received diabetes screening; 59.4% received cervical cancer screening; 61.6% received breast cancer screening; 70% received cholesterol screening; and, 82.9% received blood pressure screening.

Participants who had health insurance were significantly more likely to receive preventive services, compared with those who were uninsured. Additionally, an increase in preventive services may be seen if public health professionals, partners, health providers and patients were more aware of ACA provisions regarding covered services, according to the report.

Income was associated with receipt of preventive services, with participants whose family incomes were greater than 200% of the federal poverty level being significantly more likely to receive preventive services, with the exception of hepatitis A vaccination.

The researchers noted that preventive service use and overall public health could be improved by increasing the rate of individuals with insurance coverage.

“While insurance coverage is not the only barrier to receiving services, efforts to increase enrollment and coverage retention could help increase receipt of preventive services and reduce avoidable complications from illness, long-term health care costs, and premature deaths,” the researchers concluded. – by Casey Hower