Study: One in four kids underinsured before recession

"Even prior to the onset of the economic recession in 2008, nearly one in four American parents with health insurance reported that their coverage was so inadequate they were unable to access the medical care their children needed," HealthDay/Bloomberg Businessweek reports. "Parents of kids with health problems or special needs were more likely than others to say their insurance coverage did not meet their needs. … And the problem of 'underinsurance' seems to be worse for children covered by private insurance than those with government-funded coverage, the study found. … About a quarter (24.2 percent) of children with private health insurance had problems getting the care they needed, compared to 14.7 percent of children with public health insurance, such as Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)." The study, which is published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, "analyzed data on nearly 92,000 children [whose] parents took part in the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health" (Goodwin, 8/25).

Healthday/Modern Medicine: "The researchers estimated 11 million children lacked health insurance for all or part of 2007, while 22.7 percent of children with continuous insurance were underinsured (14.1 million children). Those most likely to be underinsured were older children, Hispanic children, those in fair or poor health, and those with special health care needs. Uninsured and underinsured children were more likely than continuously adequately insured children to have problems with health care quality and access" (8/25).

Medscape: "The main reason for categorizing children as underinsured was that costs not covered by insurance were considered to be sometimes or always unreasonable by the parents or guardians. Some children — 3.9 million — had health insurance that did not meet their needs, and 2.9 million children had coverage that sometimes or never allowed them to see needed providers, the authors found. … The authors also suggest that, as healthcare reform evolves, it may be worthwhile to consider the adequacy of coverage for children with current insurance, and not just to focus on the number of uninsured children" (Lowry, 8/25).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Daily Health Policy Report is published for Kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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