58% of Child Health Costs Paid Out-of-Pocket
American families paid about 58% of health care costs out of pocket for uninsured children, while they paid only 23% out of pocket for children covered by private health insurance, a new study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Harvard University found. According to the "Annual Report on Access to and Utilization of Health Care for Children and Youth in the United States--2000," average expenditures for all health care services for uninsured children totaled $369, compared to $1,100 for children with private insurance. The study, using information from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, provides national, regional and state findings on children's hospitalizations. The report "provides a clear picture of the state of children's health care in the United States and identifies gaps in the health care of America's young," AHRQ Deputy Director and study co-author Lisa Simpson said. Although the findings showed "no change" in the number of uninsured children between the first six months of 1997 and the same period in 1998, the report "does not reflect the potential impact" of CHIP. The study appeared in the January issue of the new journal Ambulatory Pediatrics (AHRQ release, 1/25). To view the study, go to http://ampe.allenpress.com/ampeonline/?request=get-document&issn=1530-1567&volume=001&issue=01&page=0003.