Food insecurity has been associated with the health care expenditures of individuals, but it can affect the entire family. Evaluating the relationship between food insecurity and family expenditures provides a better understanding of the financial implications of food insecurity interventions. Our primary objective was to evaluate the association between food insecurity in one year (2016) and family health care expenditures-for all members, for children only, and for adults only-in the next year (2017). We also evaluated whether this association varied across types of insurance coverage within families: all private, all public, or mixed (including uninsured). Using nationally representative data, we found that food-insecure families had 20 percent greater total health care expenditures than food-secure families, for an annual difference of $2,456. Food insecurity was associated with greater expenditures across all family insurance patterns, including the 19.1 percent of families with mixed coverage. Our findings suggest that in families with mixed coverage, positive impacts of food insecurity interventions on health care use may accrue to family members other than the targeted beneficiaries and those who have different insurance, benefiting the entire family but potentially discouraging investments on the part of any one payer.
Health Aff (Millwood)
Food Insecurity Was Associated With Greater Family Health Care Expenditures In The US, 2016-17.