Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 217–224

Parents’ Experiences in Choosing a Health Plan for Their Children with Special Health Care Needs


    • University of Florida
  • Vanessa Madden
    • University of Florida
  • Mircea Marcu
    • University of Florida
  • Phyllis Sloyer
    • Florida Department of Health
  • Elizabeth Shenkman
    • University of Florida

DOI: 10.1007/s10995-010-0581-z

Cite this article as:
Knapp, C., Madden, V., Marcu, M. et al. Matern Child Health J (2011) 15: 217. doi:10.1007/s10995-010-0581-z


To investigate the information sources, and the perceived helpfulness of each source, that parents used when choosing a health plan for their children with special health care needs (CSHCN) and to determine how parents’ perceptions varied by their sociodemographic characteristics and their children’s enrollment status (newly versus previously enrolled). In Florida, a cross sectional study was carried out using 2007 telephone survey data from 500 parents. Sixty-three percent of parents used at least one information source to choose a health plan for their CSHCN. More parents used the Help Line, yet more parents found it to be the least helpful resource. Multivariate analyses suggest that Hispanic parents were 79% more likely and parents of prior enrollees were 1.2 times less likely to use one of the four information sources versus their referent groups. African American parents were 85% more likely and parents residing in Broward County were 55% less likely to indicate that the process was easy versus their referent groups. Hispanic parents were 77% more likely, African American parents were 67% more likely and college graduates were 59% less likely to report that the information they received was adequate versus their referent groups. The results did not highlight one source of information as more useful and helpful. Race and ethnicity seemed to have the most systematic effect on the parents’ experiences in choosing a health plan for their CSHCN, highlighting the need for further research to ensure that information is appropriate across subgroups.


Children with special health care needsDecision makingHealth plan choiceMedicaid reform

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010