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VOLUME 43 | NUMBER 5 | OCTOBER 2008


The Impact of Gaps in Health Insurance Coverage on Immunization Status for Young Children

Objective. To examine the impact of full-year versus intermittent public and private health insurance coverage on the immunization status of children aged 19–35 months.

Data Source. 2001 State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey's National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN) and the 2000–2002 National Immunization Survey (NIS).

Study Design. Linked health insurance data from 2001 NS-CSHCN with verified immunization status from the 2000–2002 NIS for a nationally representative sample of 8,861 nonspecial health care needs children. Estimated adjusted rates of up-to-date (UTD) immunization status using multivariate logistic regressions for seven recommended immunizations and three series.

Principal Findings. Children with public full-year coverage were significantly more likely to be UTD for two series of recommended vaccines, (4:3:1:3) and (4:3:1:3:3), compared with children with private full-year coverage. For three out of 10 immunizations and series tested, children with private part-year coverage were significantly less likely to be UTD than children with private full-year coverage.

Conclusions. Our findings raise concerns about access to needed immunizations for children with gaps in private health insurance coverage and challenge the prevailing belief that private health insurance represents the gold standard with regard to UTD status for young children.

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