June 4, 2014
Uninsured in U.S. Show Little Benefit From Gains in Hypertension Control

Greenville, SC—While hypertension control improved significantly for insured adults in the U.S. over the last 20 years or so, it remained stagnant among Americans without insurance, according to a new study out of South Carolina.

Researchers from the Greenville, South Carolina Health System, College of Charleston, and Medical University of South Carolina note that if uninsured patients attained control rates similar to publically insured patients in 2005-2010, hypertension control among adults 18 to 64 years of age would rise from 48.5% to 53.2%.

“Providing private or public health insurance to uninsured adults 18-64 years old could advance Healthy People 2020 hypertension control goals,” they suggest in a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension. Their research also was presented at the 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, Inc. (ASH) in May.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 goal is achieving blood pressure control in more than 61% of Americans with diagnosed hypertension.

For the study, hypertension was defined by blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg and/or antihypertensive treatment. Cross-sectional analyses were performed on hypertensive patients 18 to 64 years of age in National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) during three time periods—1988-1994, 1999-2004, and 2005-2010. Achieving hypertension control to less than 140/90 mmHg was the primary outcome measure.

From 1988-1994 to 2005-2010, the report points out, the hypertensive population 18-64 years of age grew from 2.8 to 6.7 million uninsured, 17.0 to 24.5 million privately insured, and 2.2 to 6.4 million publically insured.

In 1988-1994, hypertension was controlled in 25.6% of uninsured and 28.5% of insured patients, a difference of 2.9%. By 2005-2010, however, hypertension was controlled in 29.8% of uninsured and 52.5% of insured adults, a 22.7% difference.

The authors point out that hypertension control was similar among patients with public or private insurance, respectively, in both time periods—30.8% versus 27.9% in 1988-1994 and 56.3% versus 51.7% in 2005-2010.

“As more Americans get health insurance, as part of the Affordable Care Act, we may see a significant increase in the number of individuals who will have more treatment options to control their disease,” said lead author Brent M. Egan, MD, of the Care Coordination Institute in Greenville.

U.S. Pharmacist Social Connect