Study: Growing Number of U.S. Children Relying on Public Health Plans
The number of U.S. families providing health coverage for children through public programs is growing, according to a study by researchers at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, HealthDay reports.
Researchers analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data from 2008 and 2009 and Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2009 (Preidt, HealthDay, 8/1).
Children's public health insurance is provided primarily through Medicaid -- called Medi-Cal in California -- and the Children's Health Insurance Program -- called Healthy Families in California (United Press International, 7/31).
Researchers found that from 2008 to 2009, health insurance coverage increased by 1.3% among children.
The highest rate of coverage was in the Northeast at 95%, while the South had the lowest coverage rate of 89%, according to the study (HealthDay, 8/1).
The study also found that:
- 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had a significant increase in the number of children covered by public plans; and
- 27 states had a decrease in private health insurance coverage for children (United Press International, 7/31).
In addition, researchers found that about 9% of children in the U.S. are not covered by any form of insurance. According to the study, these children are disproportionately Hispanic, and half of them are eligible for coverage through CHIP or Medicaid.
Researchers said the growth in use of public coverage is being driven by loss of employment, changes in coverage in private health plans and greater access to public health plans.
They said that policymakers should focus on covering eligible children especially because people who have coverage generally are healthier (HealthDay, 8/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.