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The Number of Children With Health Insurance Coverage is on the Decline

For the very first time in the last decade, fewer kids have health insurance coverage than before. It was a steep decline in the US,  with the number of uninsured kids suddenly bouncing up to 3.9 million in 2017 from 3.6 million in 2016! This marked the first increase since 2008 in the number of uninsured children, and we are here to explore why this may have happened and take a look at the importance of children’s health insurance.

The Man Behind the Study

Joan Alker is Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families’ executive director, who took on the task of being the lead author in a study conducted over keeping track of the insurance data for children in the US. The results came back to be 5% of the children across the US who were not insured in 2017. This is a disturbing national average and even with the economy climbing, the number of insured minors was on the decline. Oddly enough, there was an increase in 2017 in employer-sponsored insurance coverage, which was also because of the growth in the economy. But there were still big losses taking place in the CHIP, Medicaid, and the ACA marketplace.

The Factors Contributing to The Decline In Insured Children

It was found that there were actually several factors that lent to the decline in insured children, with one being the state’s refusal to work on expanding Medicaid as per the structure of the Affordable Care Act. This led to a gap in affordable options for healthcare for low to middle-income families. Also, federal budget cuts were made to outreach programs that follow the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, there were federal policies put into place that target immigrants to discourage foreign people from signing up for health insurance provided by the government — in spite of the fact that foreigners may be US citizens by law! There was also a delay in the renewal of CHIP funding by the government which contributed to the decline in insured children. Some families didn’t even reapply since they were under the impression that the program had depleted funds, and so there was some chaos.

Other factors are the ballooning costs of health insurance which persuaded even families above middle-income levels to forgo their health insurance coverage. When the states did not expand Medicaid coverage, many children lost coverage. Statistics show that three-quarters of children who raised the uninsured bar were actually living in the states affected by the Medicaid expansion refusal.

Health Insurance Coverage For Kids Should Be a Priority

The importance of children being covered by health insurance cannot be stressed enough. Children are active and lead lives where they face many daily risks, even with the many forms of public or private transport they take to go to school and their extra-curricular activities. Athletic children are even more prone to injury as they engage in sports like gymnastics, football, or hockey where the risk of injury is especially high. There needs to be a rise in awareness as to how important health insurance coverage is for children, and that their coverage needs to be of priority.

A close eye is being kept on the rates of children who are insured by health insurance coverage, and there are hopes that more families will begin to value the importance of children enjoying such coverage. Out-of-pocket expenses are no joke when you have to make a trip to the emergency room – the costs are high enough to probably land a parent in the ER as well! Health care is an expensive service, and unfortunately, it is one that is extremely necessary and one that we will not be able to avoid for very long. Eventually, we all need the hospital or, at the very least, a doctor.

Make a Change

As a parent, peace of mind when it comes to our children’s health and safety is a huge relief, and if you can afford to pay the health insurance rates, it is worthwhile finding a plan to suit the needs of your family. You may fool yourself in saying that you and your family are healthy – but there’s no telling when catastrophe can strike! Perhaps it is time you take another look at the plans available and secure some form of coverage – even if it is the bare minimum — for your child. Don’t be one of the parents who contributes to the decline in health insurance coverage of kids!

 

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