Progress in Children’s Health Insurance Coverage, Data Shows


Health insurance coverage for American children has increased significantly, but many children still have no coverage according to a new study. Uninsured kids' numbers fell from 5.9 million to 4.9 million from 2013 to 2014. Uninsured children in 2013 totaled 7.5%, compared to 6.3% in 2014, which constitutes a 16% reduction.

There is progress, but almost 5 million US kids under 19 still do not have health insurance, shows a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report conducted by University of Minnesota researchers.

Kathy Hempstead, the foundation's director of coverage issues, added there was continued progress in extending coverage to kids in the past year, along with a decline in disparities by race, ethnicity, and income, but she emphasizes there is still a long way to go, writes Robert Preidt for US News and World Report.

The researchers say that in 23 states, the percentage of children not covered distinctly declined and that no states had notable gains. Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, and Rhode Island had the greatest reductions in uninsured young people.

Lynn Blewett, director of the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center, said:

"It's likely the case that more children gained coverage as eligible parents signed up for free or low-cost health insurance, and we're likely to see that trend continue."

The decrease in the numbers of uninsured children was expected after the Affordable Care Act in 2014 increased public health insurance coverage and gave tax credits to many citizens buying insurance privately, reports the St. Cloud Times.

Minnesota is a standout example of the benefits that resulted from the 2014 health act. The state chose to expand acceptability in public insurance programs and designed the MNsure health insurance exchange to do just that. MNsure marketed coverage options for 2014 and organized a network of health insurance counselors across the state.

The extent of the increase was unprecedented because it was focused on people of color and low-income families. Elizabeth Lukanen, a public health researcher at the University of Minnesota, noted:

"This drop from 2013 to 2014 is really historic. We feel pretty confident that we can attribute these gains to the Affordable Care Act."

According to Associated Press, a report released previously from the university's State Health Access Data Assistance Center showed that Minnesota's overall rate of uninsured declined from 8% to 5%.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton called the news fantastic and said it provided more evidence that the health reforms appropriated by the state were the right choice for Minnesota.

Bring Me the News' Maria Herd reports that the study included health insurance information that spanned five years for kids in all 50 states. Still, more than 10% of Hispanic children still have no insurance compared to 3.4% of non-white children and 2.8% of white youngsters.

The report informed the public that in Minnesota, 22.5% of children are covered by public health insurance and 74% are covered by private health insurance.

Health insurance has been in the forefront of the 2016 presidential campaign and has created dramatic controversy between Democratic and Republican candidates.

Bernie Sanders, a Democrat, is supportive of Medicare for everyone and would like to create a single-payer health care system for all US citizens. Hilary Clinton, however, would like to see the expansion of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010.

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Mario Rubio, all Republicans, feel that the health care overhaul should be improved or repealed altogether.

02 17, 2016
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