Targeted reforms in health care financing to improve the care of adolescents and young adults

Arik V. Marcell, Cora C. Breuner, Lawrence Hammer, Mark L. Hudak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Significant changes have occurred in the commercial and government insurance marketplace after the passage of 2 federal legislation acts, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Despite the potential these 2 acts held to improve the health care of adolescents and young adults (AYAs), including the financing of care, there are barriers to achieving this goal. In the first quarter of 2016, 13.7% of individuals 18 to 24 years of age still lacked health insurance. Limitations in the scope of benefits coverage and inadequate provider payment can curtail access to health care for AYAs, particularly care related to sexual and reproductive health and mental and behavioral health. Some health plans impose financial barriers to access because they require families to absorb high cost-sharing expenses (eg, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance). Finally, challenges of confidentiality inherent in the billing and insurance claim practices of some health insurance plans can discourage access to health care in the absence of other obstacles and interfere with provision of confidential care. This policy statement summarizes the current state of impediments that AYA, including those with special health care needs, face in accessing timely and appropriate health care and that providers face in serving these patients. These impediments include limited scope of benefits, high cost sharing, inadequate provider payment, and insufficient confidentiality protections. With this statement, we aim to improve both access to health care by AYAs and providers' delivery of developmentally appropriate health care for these patients through the presentation of an overview of the issues, specific recommendations for reform of health care financing for AYAs, and practical actions that pediatricians and other providers can take to advocate for appropriate payments for providing health care to AYAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20182998
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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