Impact of Health Insurance Coverage on Adolescent Childbearing

Jacqueline A. Cox, Pennsylvania State University
Deborah Roempke Graefe, Pennsylvania State University
Gordon F. De Jong, Pennsylvania State University

Insurance coverage is important for accessing reproductive health services, yet research on the association between insurance coverage and childbearing is lacking. Consequently, the role of insurance in preventing adolescent childbearing is unclear. Using three panels of the nationally representative Survey of Income and Program Participation data, hierarchical logistic regression models test the association between health insurance coverage and childbearing among 7,250 unmarried adolescent women. Analyses also examine variations in the association based on family income. Adolescents were 74% more likely report childbearing following periods when they were uninsured compared when they were insured. Stable socio-demographic characteristics attenuated these effects; however, a significant interaction indicates differential effects of insurance as a function of family income. The findings of the current study suggest that health insurance coverage is associated with lower odds of adolescent childbearing among near-poor adolescents. Future research should examine potential mechanisms through which insurance coverage influences adolescent childbearing.

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Presented in Session 130: U.S. Reproductive Health Policy