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Recession Led To A Decline In Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Children With Special Health Care Needs

Author: Pinar Karaca-Mandic, Sung J. Choi Yoo, Benjamin D. Sommers
$15.00

The 2007–09 recession led to an overall slowing in health care spending growth, but it is unclear whether the slowed spending growth had different impacts on adults and children. Although most children are healthy, forgoing routine health care could have long-term adverse implications for public health. Furthermore, children with special health care needs are at risk of adverse outcomes if they do not receive adequate care. Focusing on privately insured families with children, we investigated how out-of-pocket spending trends changed before and during the recession. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data from the period 2001–09 revealed that the recession did not affect out-of-pocket spending for most children, but it led to a decline in spending for children with special needs, who had much higher out-of-pocket spending at baseline. Adults had significantly lower out-of-pocket spending during the recession, which suggests that parents may reduce their own medical care in difficult economic times to meet their children’s health care needs.

The 2007–09 recession led to an overall slowing in health care spending growth, but it is unclear whether the slowed spending growth had different impacts on adults and children. Although most children are healthy, forgoing routine health care could have long-term adverse implications for public health. Furthermore, children with special health care needs are at risk of adverse outcomes if they do not receive adequate care. Focusing on privately insured families with children, we investigated how out-of-pocket spending trends changed before and during the recession. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data from the period 2001–09 revealed that the recession did not affect out-of-pocket spending for most children, but it led to a decline in spending for children with special needs, who had much higher out-of-pocket spending at baseline. Adults had significantly lower out-of-pocket spending during the recession, which suggests that parents may reduce their own medical care in difficult economic times to meet their children’s health care needs.

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