Recurrent Shoulder Instability: Do Morbidity and Treatment Differ Based on Insurance?

Ariel A. Williams, Nickolas S. Mancini, Cameron Kia, Megan R. Wolf, Simran Gupta, Mark P. Cote, Robert A. Arciero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with public insurance often face barriers to obtaining prompt orthopaedic care. For patients with recurrent traumatic anterior shoulder instability, delayed care may be associated with increasing bone loss and subsequently more extensive surgical procedures. Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether differences exist in patients undergoing treatment for shoulder instability between those with Medicaid versus non-Medicaid insurance. We hypothesized that at the time of surgery, Medicaid patients would have experienced greater delays in care, would have a more extensive history of instability, would have more bone loss, and would require more extensive surgical procedures than other patients. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: Patients were identified who underwent surgical stabilization for traumatic anterior shoulder instability between January 1, 2011, and December 1, 2015, at a single sports medicine practice. Clinic, billing, and operative records were reviewed for each patient to determine age, sex, insurance type, total number of instability episodes, time from first instability episode to surgery, intraoperative findings, and procedure performed. Glenoid bone loss was quantified by use of preoperative imaging studies. Results: During this time period, 206 patients (55 Medicaid, 131 private insurance, 11 Tricare, 9 workers’ compensation) underwent surgical stabilization for traumatic anterior shoulder instability. Average wait time from initial injury to surgery was 1640 days (95% CI, 1155-2125 days) for Medicaid patients compared with 1237 days (95% CI, 834-1639 days) for others (P =.005). Medicaid patients were more likely to have sustained 5 or more instability events at the time of surgery (OR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.64-6.69; P =.001), had a higher risk of having 15% or more glenoid bone loss on preoperative imaging (OR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.3-10.0; P =.01), and had a higher risk of requiring Latarjet or other open stabilization procedures as opposed to an arthroscopic repair (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.5-6.2; P =.002) when compared with other patients. Conclusion: Among patients undergoing surgery for traumatic anterior shoulder instability, patients with Medicaid had significantly more delayed care. Correspondingly, they reported a more extensive history of instability, were more likely to have severe bone loss, and required more invasive stabilization procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
‡Address correspondence to Robert A. Arciero, MD, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030, USA (email: *Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. †Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, USA. One or more of the authors has declared the following potential conflict of interest or source of funding: A.A.W. has received educational support from Smith & Nephew and hospitality payments from Axogen. R.A.A. has received grants from Arthrex and Depuy Mitek and consulting fees from Biomet, Biorez, and DePuy. AOSSM checks author disclosures against the Open Payments Database (OPD). AOSSM has not conducted an independent investigation on the OPD and disclaims any liability or responsibility relating thereto. Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the UConn Health Institutional Review Board (No. 16-117-3).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • access to care
  • economic and decision analysis
  • epidemiology
  • insurance
  • shoulder instability


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