Insurance and HPV vaccination

From the American Journal of Public Health, “Insurance Continuity and Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Uptake in Oregon and California Federally Qualified Health Centers“:

Objectives. We examined the association between insurance continuity and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake in a network of federally qualified health clinics (FQHCs).

Methods. We analyzed retrospective electronic health record data for females, aged 9–26 years in 2008 through 2010. Based on electronic health record insurance coverage information, patients were categorized by percent of time insured during the study period (0%, 1%–32%, 33%–65%, 66%–99%, or 100%). We used bilevel multivariable Poisson regression to compare vaccine-initiation prevalence between insurance groups, stratified by race/ethnicity and age. We also examined vaccine series completion among initiators who had at least 12 months to complete all 3 doses.

this study looked at insurance continuity and its relationship of HPV vaccination in a network of federally qualified health clinics. Basically, they wanted to see if time spent uninsured was related to a child missing the HPV vaccine,

But here’s the thing.  If your child is Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, or underinsured (meaning that you have insurance, but it doesn’t covered vaccines), you can still get vaccines free of charge through the Vaccines for Children program. So, theoretically, insurance shouldn’t matter.

Of course, it turned out that insurance did matter. Kids 13 and older were significantly less likely to get the HPV vaccine if they were insured for less than two-thirds of the time.

I hear all the time from people that “insurance doesn’t matter”. In this case, even I agree – it shouldn’t. But it does. The way we’ve set up this crazy health care system, it just does.


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