Healthcare Access and Utilization for Young Adults With Disability: U.S., 2014-2018

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J Adolesc Health. 2021 Oct 15:S1054-139X(21)00438-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.08.023. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Young adults with disability experience barriers to healthcare access and are at risk for not receiving needed services as they transition from pediatric to adult health systems. This study examined patterns of healthcare utilization for young adults with disability and potential barriers to receipt of care.

METHODS: Data from the 2014 to 2018 National Health Interview Survey were analyzed to examine differences in service utilization, unmet need, care satisfaction, and financial worry between young adults (18-30 years) with and without disability (unweighted n = 15,710). Odds ratios were adjusted for individual, family, and interview characteristics.

RESULTS: Compared to those without disability, young adults with disability were more likely to have had an emergency room visit in the past year (39.2% vs. 19.5%). They were also more likely to have a usual source of care when sick (82.2% vs. 75%). Among young adults who affirmed they had a usual place of care, those with disability were more likely to use the emergency room as their usual place of care (5.3% vs. 1.8%). A greater percentage of young adults with disability delayed medical care due to cost (19.1% vs. 8.9%) and reported an unmet medical need (21% vs. 10.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight gaps in healthcare access for young adults with disability. Differences in healthcare utilization patterns for young adults with disability and factors that may negatively influence health outcomes for this population were found. Further research focused on the continuity of healthcare services in this age group through the healthcare transition period may provide additional insight into these discrepancies.

PMID:34663536 | DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.08.023