Insurance transitions and healthcare utilization for children with refractory epilepsy

I. Wen Pan*, Sandi Lam, Dave Fitzgerald Clarke, Ya Chen Tina Shih

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: The objective of the study is to investigate the association between insurance transitions and healthcare utilization among children with refractory epilepsy. Methods: We applied published algorithms to identify the study cohort of children with a diagnosis of refractory epilepsy who were treated between 10/1/2013 and 9/30/2014 at 36 children's hospitals in the United States. Insurance transition was defined as having any change in the type of primary payer from the first date of diagnosis to the date of the last visit at the same hospital. Univariate and multilevel multivariable analytical methods were used in the study. Results: Among 3488 children hospitalized with refractory epilepsy, rates of insurance transitions at 1, 2, and 5 years of refractory epilepsy diagnosis were 8.1%, 14%, and 29.9%, respectively. Patients whose primary payer at diagnosis was Private or Others were more likely to experience insurance transitions than patients whose primary payer was Medicaid. Younger children were associated with a higher risk of insurance transitions than older children. The high intensity of insurance transitions was associated with a higher number of emergency department and inpatient visits. Conclusions: Insurance transitions interrupted the continuity of medical care for children with refractory epilepsy and were associated with more frequent hospitalizations and emergency department visits, which then translated to higher healthcare costs. Medicaid provided stable insurance coverage and is critically important for these patients and should be the main focus for policies aiming to minimize insurance transitions and optimize healthcare delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-54
Number of pages7
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Insurance
  • Pediatric
  • Racial disparity
  • Refractory epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Insurance transitions and healthcare utilization for children with refractory epilepsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this