Family Planning Clinic Patients

Their Usual Health Care Providers, Insurance Status, and Implications for Managed Care

Published in: Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2000, p. 25-33

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1999

by Susan Sugerman, Neal Halfon, Arlene Fink, Martin Anderson, Laurie Valle, Robert H. Brook

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PURPOSE: To understand the extent to which family planning clinic patients have health insurance or access to other health care providers, as well as their preferences for clinic versus private reproductive medical care. METHOD: An anonymous self-report questionnaire was administered at three Planned Parenthood clinics in Los Angeles County to 780 female patients aged 12-49 years. Dependent variables included insurance status, usual source of care, and a battery of questions regarding the importance of confidentiality. RESULTS: A total of 356 adolescents (aged 12-19 years) and 424 adults (aged 20-49 years) completed the survey in 1994. Fifty-nine percent of adolescents and 53% of adults had a usual source of care other than the clinic. The majority of each group reported some degree of continuity of care in their usual provider setting. Nearly half (49%) of all adolescents had health insurance compared with 27% of adults. Adolescents cited not wanting to involve family members as the primary reason for not using their usual providers, whereas adults were more likely to cite being uninsured. The majority of both adult and adolescent patients indicate they would prefer the clinic over private health care if guaranteed health care that was free, confidential, or both. CONCLUSION: Despite many patients' having health insurance and other sources of health care, family planning clinics were primarily chosen because of cost and confidentiality. Their reasons for preferring clinics may continue despite changes in access to insurance or efforts to incorporate similar reproductive services into mainstream health care provider systems. Making public or private health care funds available to family planning clinics through contracts or other mechanisms may facilitate patients' access to essential services and reduce potential service duplication.

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