Health Insurance Coverage among Young Adult Survivors of Pediatric Heart Transplantation

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Abstract

Objective

To describe the change in health insurance after heart transplantation among adolescents, and characterize the implications of this change for long-term transplant outcomes.

Study design

Patients age 15–18 years receiving first-time heart transplantation between 1999 and 2011 were identified in the United Network for Organ Sharing registry and included in the analysis if they survived at least 5 years. The primary exposure was change or continuity of health insurance coverage between the time of transplant and the 5-year follow-up. Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine the association between insurance status change and long-term (>5 years) patient and graft survival.

Results

The analysis included 366 patients (age 16 ± 1 years at transplant), of whom 205 (56%) had continuous private insurance; 96 (26%) had continuous public insurance; and 65 (18%) had a change in insurance status. In stepwise multivariable Cox regression, change in insurance status was associated with greater mortality hazard, compared with continuous private insurance (hazard ratio = 1.9; 95% CI: 1.1, 3.2; P = .016), whereas long-term patient and graft survival did not differ between patients with continuous public and continuous private insurance.

Conclusions

Continuity of insurance coverage is associated with improved long-term clinical outcomes among adolescent heart transplant recipients who survive into adulthood.

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