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Cristina A. Fernandez, Anat Galor, Dandan D. Zheng, Kristopher L. Arheart, Byron L. Lam, Kathryn McCollister, Manuel A. Ocasio, David J. Lee; Influence of Demographic Characteristics on Eye Care Expenditures: Data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 2007. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):1431.
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To evaluate the association of demographic factors and eye care expenditures and to assess the burden of ocular expenditures as compared to total health care expenditures.
Setting: Retrospective analysis of ocular expenditures in participants of the 2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a nationally representative subsample of the National Health Interview Survey. Patient population: Data from 20,620 unique participants age >18 years. Main outcome measure: Eye care expenditures by demographic characteristics.
Twenty-two percent of the studied population had eye care expenditures in 2007. Demographic factors significantly associated with the probability of having eye care expenditures included older age (65+ years, 34% vs. 45-64 years, 22% vs. <45 years, 16%), female gender (females, 27% vs. males, 19%), higher educational attainment [greater than high school (HS) education, 28% vs. less than HS education, 19%], having insurance (private, 29% vs. uninsured, 16%), and visual impairment (mild, 26% vs. none, 17%). Older age, female gender, and the presence of insurance were also significantly associated with the probability of having medical expenditures. In those with eye care expenditures, the mean ratio between eye care and total medical expenditures was 3%.
Demographic factors affect the probability of having ocular expenditures. Of all factors examined, insurance status has the most potential for modification. We postulate that the lower eye and medical care expenditures in patients without insurance are mainly due to access issues. Health care reform has the potential of improving access and utilization by increasing the number of individuals covered.
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