Trends in Department of Defense beneficiaries’ preventive care utilization, alcohol and tobacco use during the COVID-19 pandemic
Background: The Department of Defense (DoD) Military Health System (MHS) leadership strives to understand beneficiary health-related behaviors to inform the delivery of patient-centered care within a high-quality health system. Understanding changes in health behaviors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will help MHS better support beneficiary health.
Methodology: This study examines self-reported DoD beneficiary behaviors using data from the Health Care Survey of DoD Beneficiaries (HCSDB) for fiscal year (FY) 2022 quarter one (Q1). The HCSDB is a representative survey with approximately N=26,000 completed surveys annually. It is designed to collect information on unique issues related to TRICARE administered benefits such as beneficiary opinions about their health, ease of access to health care, health insurance coverage over the previous 12 months, and current health-related topics of interest that are updated each quarter.
Specifically for FY 2022 Q1, we asked beneficiaries about their preventive care utilization, alcohol consumption during the past year (AUDIT scale), and tobacco/e-cigarette use. These results are trended over time to prior quarters and compared to benchmarks where available. This analysis incorporates survey design characteristics and population weights to ensure the model resembles the TRICARE beneficiary population.
Results: This analysis reports data by beneficiary category including active duty service members, active duty family members, retirees, and retirees’ dependents. We examined responses to changes in preventive care, alcohol consumption during the pandemic and trends for smoking and e-cigarette usage.
Conclusion: Understanding beneficiaries’ behavior changes and access to preventive care are important for MHS and DoD leadership for monitoring health-related behaviors of MHS beneficiaries and ensuring care is provided through the right channels. Findings from this study provide valuable insights about problematic behaviors (excess alcohol consumption and tobacco use) during the pandemic. Better understanding beneficiary health behaviors allows the MHS to target messaging and provide additional resources to ensure beneficiaries are provided health resources they need.
Defense Health Agency
Senior Health Policy Analyst
Linked Session ID:
Gliner Melissa, PhD
, Christopher C. Duke, PhD
, Amanda Grifka
, Joseph Gasper, PhD
, Chris Manglitz
Defense Health Agency,
Learning Outcome 1:
Identify trends over time in utilization of preventive care by TRICARE beneficiaries during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Compare trends between demographic groups.
Learning Outcome 2:
Identify trends over time in alcohol usage by TRICARE beneficiaries during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Compare trends between demographic groups.
Learning Outcome 3:
Identify trends over time in tobacco usage by TRICARE beneficiaries during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Compare trends between demographic groups.
Linked Session Title:
Access to care barriers in relation to COVID-19