Health Insurance Coverage among Young Adult Survivors of Pediatric Heart Transplantation
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.