Our aim was to analyze correlates of continuous and transitional health care utilization by older Americans over a recent 4-year period.
We analyzed data for civilian, non-institutionalized U.S. individuals over age 50 from the 2006 and 2008 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). We estimated multinomial logistic models of persistent and intermittent use of physician, inpatient hospital, home health and outpatient surgery over the 2004–2008 survey periods.
Health-based factors were more strongly associated with repeated and changing use of medical care over this period than were financial factors for this older American population.
Findings suggested that the health and changes in the health of older individuals were more strongly correlated with persistence of and changes in care-seeking behavior over time than were financial status and changes in financial status. The more pronounced sensitivity to health status and changes in health should be important considerations as insurance and retirement policy reforms are considered.