Affordable Care Act (ACA) Implementation and Adolescent Births by Insurance Type: An Interrupted Time Series Analysis of Births between 2009 and 2017 in the United States

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Present address: Division of Population Health Data, Office of Family Health Services, 109 Governor St, Richmond, VA 23219.
    Dane A. De Silva
    Corresponding author.
    1 Present address: Division of Population Health Data, Office of Family Health Services, 109 Governor St, Richmond, VA 23219.
    Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States
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  • Jessica L. Gleason
    Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 Present address: Division of Population Health Data, Office of Family Health Services, 109 Governor St, Richmond, VA 23219.



      In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, with full provisions in effect by 2014, including expanded Medicaid coverage, changes to the marketplace, and contraceptive coverage, but its impact on birth trends, particularly adolescent births, is currently unknown.


      We sought to determine whether ACA implementation was associated with changes in adolescent births and whether this differed by insurance type (Medicaid or private insurance).


      We used revised 2009-2017 birth certificate data, restricted to resident women with a Medicaid or privately paid singleton birth (N = 27,748,028). Segmented regression analysis was used to examine births to adolescent mothers (12-19 years old) before and after the ACA.


      There were 27,748,028 singleton births (n = 2,013,521 adolescent births) among U.S. residents between 2009 and 2017 in this analytic sample. Adjusted models revealed that the ACA was associated with a 23% significant decrease in odds of an adolescent birth (OR = 0.78; 95% CI, 0.77-0.79) for Medicaid-funded births and a 19% decrease (OR = 0.81; 95% CI, 0.79-0.83) for privately insured births, with a further declining trend. Overall declines in adolescent births among the Medicaid population appear to be driven by states that chose to expand Medicaid.


      Beyond the declining secular trend already observed in adolescent pregnancy over the last 10 years, the ACA appears to have had a substantial impact on adolescent births, likely due to Medicaid expansion and increased access to affordable contraception. From a population health perspective, efforts to undo the ACA could have important consequences for maternal, infant, and family health in the United States.


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