Children's health insurance coverage is inconsistent

Pharmaceutical Representative

According to a new report on children's health insurance released by the Washington-based Children's Defense Fund, 12 million children are still uninsured three years after Congress passed the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provided $48 billion for the states to provide health insurance to children. CDF estimates that nearly 12 million children are uninsured, but seven million of those uninsured are eligible for CHIP and Medicaid and not enrolled.

According to a new report on children's health insurance released by the Washington-based Children's Defense Fund, 12 million children are still uninsured three years after Congress passed the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provided $48 billion for the states to provide health insurance to children. CDF estimates that nearly 12 million children are uninsured, but seven million of those uninsured are eligible for CHIP and Medicaid and not enrolled.

"There is no reason why the richest nation on earth ignores the health risks of low-income children in working families," said Marian Wright, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund. "We have waited patiently for states to get their programs up and running. It is time for every state to find and enroll every eligible child in CHIP or Medicaid."

Lack of knowledge

The parents of many uninsured children may simply not know they qualify, according to a report issued by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ. The study showed that six out of ten parents whose children may qualify for State Children's Health Insurance Program or Medicaid do not believe that these programs apply to them. However, 82% of these parents said if they knew their children qualified for coverage, they would enroll.

To help remedy the situation, the foundation announced that it will spend as much as $26 million to inform parents with uninsured children who qualify for low-cost or free healthcare coverage that their children may be eligible.

"Of the 11 million American children who are uninsured, seven million of them could have healthcare coverage today," said Dr. Steven A. Schroeder, president and chief executive officer of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "We must let their parents know that their children are eligible, and we must continue to make it easier for these parents to apply. This public education campaign is aimed at the families of these seven million children, especially those who don't realize that these health coverage programs are for their children. We must reach them."

All 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia have used SCHIP funding to expand coverage to include more children from families with moderate incomes. The survey shows that the misperception that their children don't qualify is highest in households in which both parents are working (71%) or the annual income is $25,000 or more (69%). PR