Many kids in the US don’t have health insurance or are underinsured

No health insurance for kid

A recent study showed that children across the country have inconsistent medical coverage.

Kids with public health insurance in the United States are experiencing greater rates of inconsistent coverage, though lower rates of underinsurance when compared to those covered on the private market, said a recent study published in the JAMA Health Forum.

The results of the study were based on an analysis of data from 203,691 children in the US.

The health insurance research was conducted by a team from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health under Jamie R. Daw, Ph.D. Of the US kids’ data examined by the team from New York City, 34.5 percent were publicly insured.

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The researchers discovered that when compared with kids insured through the private market, those publicly insured had higher inconsistent coverage rates. The rate of inconsistent coverage was 4.2 percent among those publicly insured and it was 1.4 percent among those privately insured. Those publicly insured also had lower inadequate coverage rates at 12.2 percent, when compared to 33 percent for kids covered on the private market.

Inconsistent health insurance coverage fell dramatically for publicly insured kids during the pandemic.

When comparing the years of the COVID-19 public health emergency (from 2020 to 2021) when compared to the same number of years prior (from 2016 to 2019), publicly insured kids experienced a 42 percent decrease in inconsistent coverage. That said, inadequate coverage fell by 6 percent for publicly covered kids.

“The findings of this cross-sectional study indicate that insurance gaps are a particular problem for publicly insured children, whereas insurance inadequacy and, particularly, out-of-pocket costs are a challenge for commercially insured children,” wrote the study authors. “Both challenges improved during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Improving children’s health coverage after the public health emergency will require policy solutions that target the unique needs of commercially and publicly insured children.”

Moving forward, this year could prove defining in determining which direction health insurance will take for children in terms of inconsistencies and adequacies. There are several factors expected to play a role in upcoming coverage trends for children, including ongoing economic strain, among others.

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