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John C. Duby


Objective: With the increase in ASD awareness and diagnosis, concerns are raised as to whether children with ID have more unmet health care needs than children with ASD. The purpose of this study was to assess the unmet health care needs of children with ID compared to children with ASD and whether inconsistent health insurance coverage is associated with any differences. Methods: The 2016-2017 NSCH identified children with diagnoses of ID and ASD (with or without ID). Caregivers were asked if the child had an unmet need for health care during the past 12 months, and the type of care that was not received. Caregivers were asked if a child had consistent health insurance coverage during the past 12 months. Adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95% confidence intervals for needed health care not received were calculated and adjusted for sex of the child, insurance, and parent’s highest education level. Results: In the 2016-2017 NSCH, the frequency of ID and ASD was 1.05% and 2.6%, respectively. Children with ID had 4.72 (95% CI: 1.93-11.49) times the odds of needing medical care and not receiving it as children with ASD (with or without ID). Similar odds ratios resulted for the other categories, with the exception of mental health where children with ID had 0.41 (95% CI: 0.19-0.92) times the odds of needed but unmet mental health care compared to children with ASD. In addition, children with ID had 0.36 (95% CI: 0.19-0.72) times the odds of having consistent health insurance compared to children with ASD during the past 12 months.

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