Children’s Health Coverage
Most children in the child welfare system have stable health insurance, but decreases in funding for child health insurance programs, including Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, could place such children at risk of losing coverage, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health.
The study, which followed children who came into contact with child welfare agencies and documented their coverage for three years, found that 92% of the study group maintained some type of health insurance during the three-year period and that there was an increase in coverage for the rest of the group. The researchers also found that a history of sexual abuse and a race/ethnicity other than white, black or Hispanic were associated with gaining coverage, while foster care placement and poorer health status were linked to maintaining coverage.
Researchers concluded that although children may not have maintained the same type of health insurance over time, data show that gains in coverage are related to enrollment in Medicaid and that protection of entitlement programs is an essential component to preserving stability of health insurance coverage (Raghavan et al, American Journal of Public Health, March 2008).
Health insurance coverage rates are lower for children with at least one parent who is not a citizen than for children whose parents are both citizens, and state variations in coverage are higher for children in families of mixed citizenship status, according to a study in Health Affairs.
Researchers found that the coverage gap between the two groups is a result of significantly lower employer-sponsored coverage among children in families with mixed citizenship status, which is also associated with lower family incomes. State variations in coverage could reflect differences in the composition of a state's immigrant population and work force factors, or factors such as individual state Medicaid/State Children's Health Insurance Program eligibility policies, and general and immigrant-specific enrollment, researchers wrote.
The study concluded that children in mixed-citizenship families would benefit from state health care reform initiatives that address employer coverage in terms of immigrant eligibility and outreach. Researchers suggested that state policy options for covering children from mixed families should include both general approaches and strategies for reducing barriers unique to this demographic (Acevedo-Garcia/Stone, Health Affairs, March/April 2008).