Disparities in insurance coverage among hospitalized adult congenital heart disease patients before and after the Affordable Care Act

Birth Defects Res. 2021 Feb 15. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.1878. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Data are lacking regarding the insurance status of adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD). We investigated whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) impacted insurance status among hospitalized ACHD, identified associated sociodemographic factors, and compared coverage to adults with other chronic childhood conditions.

METHODS: Serial cross-sectional analysis of National Inpatient Sample hospitalizations from 2007 to 2016 was performed for patients 18-64 years old. ACHD were identified using ICD-9/10-CM codes and compared to patients with sickle cell disease (SCD), cystic fibrosis (CF), and the general population. Age was dichotomized as 18-25 years (transition aged) or 26-64 years. Groups were compared by era (pre-ACA [January 2007-June 2010]; early-ACA [July 2010-December 2013], which eliminated pre-existing condition exclusions; and full-ACA [January 2014-December 2016]) using interrupted time series and multivariable Poisson regression analyses.

RESULTS: Overall, uninsured hospitalizations decreased from pre-ACA (12.0%) to full-ACA (8.5%). After full ACA implementation, ACHD had lower uninsured rates than the general hospitalized population (6.0 vs. 8.6%, p < .01), but higher rates than those with other chronic childhood diseases (SCD [4.5%]; CF [1.6%]). Across ACA eras, transition aged ACHD had higher uninsured rates than older patients (8.9 vs. 7.6%, p < .01), and Hispanic patients remained less insured than other groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Hospitalized ACHD were better insured than the general population but less insured than those with SCD or CF. Full ACA implementation was associated with improved insurance coverage for all groups, but disparities persisted for transition aged and Hispanic patients. Ongoing evaluation of the effects of insurance and health policy on ACHD remains critical to diminish health disparities.

PMID:33590705 | DOI:10.1002/bdr2.1878