News Release

Has adolescent preventive care increased since the Affordable Care Act?

Peer-Reviewed Publication

JAMA Network

Bottom Line: Preventive care visits for adolescents increased moderately after implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) but most U.S. adolescents still do not attend doctor "well visits" or receive preventive care.

Why The Research Is Interesting: American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines recommend preventive care services up to age 21, including an annual visit. The ACA requires that most private insurers cover preventive services without a copay, including services recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

What, When and How: Comparison of past-year well visits and preventive services received by adolescents before (2007-2009) and after the ACA was implemented (2012-2014) using national survey data collected from adult caregivers (mostly parents) of adolescents

Authors: Sally H. Adams, Ph.D., of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital at the University of California, San Francisco, and coauthors

Results: Annual well-visit rates increased from 41 percent before the ACA to 48 percent after the ACA, with the biggest gains among minority and low-income adolescents; among adolescents who had any past-year health care visit, there were increases of from 2 to 9 percent for 8 of 9 preventive services and results did not change after accounting for demographic factors.


Study Limitations: Data on adolescent health care were based on caregiver reports.

Study Conclusions: Findings highlight the need to bring adolescents into well care and to improve the delivery of preventive care to them in practices.

Related material: The following related elements also are available on the For The Media website:

The editorial, "Ensuring Access to Preventive Services for Adolescents; Historical Roots, Current Progress and Future Challenges," by Abigail English, J.D., of the Center for Adolescent Health and the Law, Chapel Hill, and Jane Perkins, J.D., M.P.H., of the National Health Law Program, Carrboro, both in North Carolina

For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.


Editor's Note: The article contains funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc..

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