Report: MO Slightly Behind on Child Health Care Coverage

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The United States has reached a milestone when it comes to making sure that all children have health insurance, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

The report says 95 percent of the nation’s children are covered, although Missouri’s coverage rate is 94 percent.

Judy Dungan, director of policy and advocacy for the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council, says the state has made an effort to make sure more children are covered. She adds it’s good fiscal policy to make sure children get preventative care.

“It’s really inexpensive to cover kids for all of those screening services that in the long run actually end up saving money because the sooner you detect something and address the issue, deal with it, the less costly it is,” she explains.

Between 2013 and 2015 the number of uninsured children in Missouri dropped from 98,000 to 80,000.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, says the sharp decline in the uninsured rate can be attributed to health care reform.

“There’s just been so much activity in this area with new coverage options thanks to the Affordable Care Act that for kids, it’s really allowed them to build on the success we already had from Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program),” she states.

Dungan says one thing that needs to be addressed is the so-called kid glitch under the Affordable Care Act, which says families aren’t given subsidies if a parent is offered affordable coverage by his or her employer.

“Affordable coverage by their employer means that the employee’s coverage is affordable, but family coverage offered by that employer might be really, really expensive and not affordable,” she stresses. “Then we’re ending up with children and spouses not covered. “

Nearly 6 percent of Missouri children are not covered by a health insurance plan. The national average is around 5 percent.

(Veronica Carter, Missouri News Service)

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