Millions of Qualified Kids Not On Medicaid
A new report published in the journal “Health Affairs” suggests that approximately 5 million uninsured children who are eligible for either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are not participating. The authors recommend policy reforms and broader efforts to help those who qualify, but are not enrolled.
California, Texas and Florida Children Make Up Large Portion of Uninsured
The study was conducted by the Urban Institute Health Policy Center. In 2008, about 7.3 million children nationwide were uninsured. About 65% (4.7 million) of those qualified for either Medicaid or CHIP. The study also found that 39% of those eligible uninsured children live in three states – California, Texas, and Florida.
Medicaid is a joint-federal health plan for those with low income or disability. A recent study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual meeting found that several barriers, including low literacy, affect the ability for those who are applying for or renewing Medicaid coverage.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides low-cost coverage for children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford private health insurance coverage.
"No child should have to skip a doctor's appointment or go without the medicine they need because their family can't pay," said US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, challenging state and local officials to "find and enroll those five million kids."
"This new data will help us to focus our efforts and our grant funding where they are most needed," Sebelius added. "As we implement the Affordable Care Act…we have a moral obligation to move forward – to close this gap in health coverage among children," she says in an accompanying editorial to the report.