Caesarean section in uninsured women in the USA: Systematic review and meta-analysis
Hoxha I., Braha M., Syrogiannouli L., Goodman DC., Jüni P.
Objective The aim of this study is to assess the odds of caesarean section (CS) for uninsured women in the USA and understand the underlying mechanisms as well as consequences of lower use. Study design Systematic review and meta-analysis. Data sources PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library and CINAHL from the first year of records to April 2018. Eligibility criteria We included studies that reported data to allow the calculation of ORs of CS of uninsured as compared with insured women. Outcomes The prespecified primary outcome was the adjusted OR of deliveries by CS of uninsured women as compared with privately or publicly insured women. The prespecified secondary outcome was the crude OR of deliveries by CS of uninsured women as compared with insured women. Results 12 articles describing 16 separate studies involving more than 8.8 million women were included in this study. We found: 0.70 times lower odds of CS in uninsured as compared with privately insured women (95% CI 0.63 to 0.78), with no relevant heterogeneity between studies (2 =0.01); and 0.92 times lower odds for CS in uninsured as compared with publicly insured women (95% CI 0.80 to 1.07), with no relevant heterogeneity between studies (2 =0.02). We found 0.70 times lower odds in uninsured as compared with privately and publicly insured women (95% CI 0.69 to 0.72). Conclusions CSs are less likely to be performed in uninsured women as compared with insured women. While the higher rates for CS among privately insured women can be explained with financial incentives associated with private insurance, the lower odds among uninsured women draw attention at barriers to access for delivery care. In many regions, the rates for uninsured women are above, close or below the benchmarks for appropriate CS rates and could imply both, underuse and overuse.