, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp 1238-1248
Date: 06 Nov 2010

Comparing Type of Health Insurance Among Low-Income Children: A Mixed-Methods Study from Oregon

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Abstract

We employed a mixed-methods study of primary data from a statewide household survey and in-person interviews with parents to examine—quantitatively and qualitatively—whether low-income children experienced differences between public and private insurance coverage types. We carried out 24 in-depth interviews with a subsample of respondents to Oregon’s 2005 Children’s Access to Healthcare Study (CAHS), analyzed using a standard iterative process and immersion/crystallization cycles. Qualitative findings guided quantitative analyses of CAHS data that assessed associations between insurance type and parental-reported unmet children’s health care needs. Interviewees uniformly reported that stable health insurance was important, but there was no consensus regarding which type was superior. Quantitatively, there were only a few significant differences. Cross-sectionally, compared with private coverage, public coverage was associated with higher odds of unmet specialty care needs (odds ratio [OR] 3.54; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.52–8.24). Comparing full-year coverage patterns, those with public coverage had lower odds of unmet prescription needs (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.36–0.99) and unmet mental health counseling needs (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.10–0.63), compared with privately covered children. Low-income Oregon parents reported few differences in their child’s experience with private versus public coverage.