Parent Ratings of Health Insurance Adequacy for Children with Emotional, Behavioral, or Developmental Problems

Published:November 03, 2022DOI:



      Parents of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) report that private insurance is less adequate than public health coverage. Parents of CSHCN with emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems (EBDPs) may perceive private insurance to be especially inadequate due to higher need for a wider array of non-medical services and supports. This study's objective is to assess differences in parent ratings of insurance adequacy for public versus private health coverage between non-CSHCN, CSHCN, and CSHCN with EBDPs.


      This study pooled publicly available data from the 2016 through 2019 National Survey of Children's Health. Multivariable fixed effects logistic regression models estimated the association between insurance type, CSCHN and EBDP status, and parent ratings of their child's insurance adequacy. Marginal effects were calculated for insurance type, CSHCN and EBDP status, and their interactions to estimate the size of the association.


      Among all subgroups, consistently more parents with publicly insured children rated their insurance as adequate compared to those with private insurance. Parents of privately insured CSHCN with EBDPs rated their insurance as adequate at significantly lower rates than any other group of parents (55%)—including those with privately insured children without EBDPs (non-CSHCN= 67%; CSHCN = 63%) and all other parents with publicly insured children (non-CSHCN = 87%; CSHCN = 83%; CSHCN with EBDPs = 84%).


      Future research should investigate if perceptions of insurance adequacy among families whose CSHCN has an EBDP aligns with reports of service access and unmet health care needs.


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