Stat of the Day – July 24, 2017

July 24, 2017


Stat of the Day – June 28, 2017

June 28, 2017


Vaccination Coverage Among Adults Aged 65 and Over: United States, 2015

June 28, 2017

Questions for Tina Norris, Ph.D., Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Vaccination Coverage Among Adults Aged 65 and Over: United States, 2015

Q:  Why did you conduct this study?

TN:  We produced this report because vaccination is an important preventive health measure. Older adults have greater susceptibility to—and complications from—disease, and so they stand to benefit greatly from vaccinations as a preventive health measure. This study explores how the percentage of adults aged 65 and over, who received these recommended vaccinations, varied by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, and poverty status.


Q: What finding in your new study most surprised you and why?

TN:  While not unexpected, it was quite striking to see the overall variation in rates by vaccination type. We observed quite a range in the rates of vaccine coverage for influenza, pneumococcal disease, tetanus, and shingles. For example, more than two-thirds of adults aged 65 and over had an influenza vaccine in the past 12 months, while one-third had ever had a shingles vaccine.


Q:  Your report indicates you’ve examined receipt of vaccinations among community-dwelling adults aged 65 and over. What do you mean by “community-dwelling adults?”

TN:  By community-dwelling, we mean those individuals who are not living in any type of institutional setting (ex. nursing homes, hospitals, etc.).


Q:  What differences did you see among race and ethnic groups, and between the sexes?

TN:  We did see a number of significant differences in vaccination coverage among race groups and between the sexes. In terms of race, Non-Hispanic white adults were more likely than Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adults to have had an influenza vaccine in the past 12 months. Non-Hispanic white adults were more likely than Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic Asian adults to have had a tetanus vaccine in the past 10 years or to ever have had a vaccination for pneumococcal disease or shingles.

Vaccination also varied by sex. Among adults aged 65 and over, men were more likely than women to have had a tetanus vaccine in the past 10 years. However, men were less likely than women to have had a shingles vaccine at some point in the past.


Q:  What would you say is the take-home message of this report?

TN:  I think the take-home message of this report is that many adults aged 65 and over are not receiving recommended vaccinations. For example, two-thirds of adults never had a shingles vaccine, and nearly one-half did not have a tetanus vaccine in the past 10 years. We also see gaps in coverage for all four vaccinations—influenza, pneumococcal, tetanus, and shingles—by sex, age group, race and ethnicity, and poverty status.


Q:  Did you look at any titer-level testing for adults prior to vaccination receipt as a factor in vaccination coverage?

TN:  While titer-level testing is an interesting component in the strength of a body’s immune response to disease, titer-level testing was out-of-scope for this project.


Q:  Did your survey look at the different Medicare types of insurance as a factor in vaccination coverage for the population you studied?

TN:  No, insurance coverage was not included due to the cross-sectional nature of the survey and the long recall period for some of the vaccinations.  However, direct costs—and when the cost is incurred for vaccinations—have been shown to vary according to insurance coverage, and have been linked to financial burden for older adults.


Stat of the Day – June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017


Stat of the Day – June 8, 2017

June 8, 2017


Stat of the Day – June 6, 2017

June 6, 2017


High-deductible Health Plans and Financial Barriers to Medical Care: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2016

June 6, 2017

Questions for Robin Cohen, Ph.D., Health Statistician and Lead Author on “High-deductible Health Plans and Financial Barriers to Medical Care: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2016

Q: Can you explain what high-deductible health plans (HDHP) are and why did you decide to look at this?

RC: High-deductible health plans (HDHP) are health insurance policies with higher deductibles than traditional plans. In 2016, a HDHP was defined as a health plan with an annual deductible of at least $1,300 for self-only coverage or $2,600 for family coverage. Traditional plans have annual deductibles below these levels. Relative to traditional plans, HDHPs tend to have lower premium costs. Because of the higher deductibles, persons enrolled in HDHPs can have higher out-of-pocket costs in the initial stages of care. We wanted to examine whether persons enrolled in HDHPs were more likely to forgo or delay care due to cost.


Q: How has the percentage of U.S. adults aged 18–64 with employment-based coverage enrolled in a HDHP changed from 2011-2016?

RC: The percentage of adults aged 18–64 with employment-based coverage enrolled in an HDHP increased from 26.3% in 2011 to 39.3% in 2016.


Q: What did your report find out among privately insured adults aged 18–64 with HDHPs?

RC:  In 2016, among privately insured adults aged 18–64, the percentage of those who did not get or delayed needed medical care due to cost in the past 12 months was significantly higher for those with an HDHP than those with a traditional plan.


Q: Was there anything in your report that surprised you?

RC: Regardless of the type of directly purchased coverage, adults with directly purchased coverage were more likely to not get or delay medical care due to cost than those with employment-based coverage.


Q: What is the take home message from this report?

RC: Among adults with private health insurance, those who have HDHPs are more likely to experience cost-related barriers to health care.