The number of uninsured children in the state spiked 20 percent over the last year.
Utah health insurance is covered one fifth fewer children last year than it did the year before. This spike of 20 percent in uninsured kids is a part of a nationwide reversal of the improvements seen over previous years, says a new report.
Kids had been seeing an increase in their health insurance coverage every year for nearly a decade.
That positive coverage trend has now changed directions when it comes to Utah health insurance for children. According to the Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families’ annual report, the number of kids without health insurance rose in the U.S. for the first time in almost ten years.
“When a child is uninsured it can make huge problems for families because they’re looking at what happens if they break an arm or get sick,” explained the Voices for Utah Children advocacy group executive director Terry Haven.
The change in coverage trends for kids doesn’t appear to be exclusive to Utah health insurance.
Across the country, there was a 276,000 increase in the number of children under the age of 19 years who were uninsured. That brought the 2017 total of uninsured kids in the United States up to 3.9 million, said the report’s estimates as published in a KSL article.
Though 2016 experienced a record low in uninsured children, having reached 4.7 percent, that trend has now changed. In 2017, there was a significant increase in the number of kids without health insurance plan coverage and the total percentage for the country rose to 5 percent.
“Coverage is important for children because it improves their access to needed services, such as well-child checkups and medications, and provides better access to a usual source of care,” said the annual report. “Public coverage is also associated with improved educational outcomes and long-term health and economic gains.”
The Utah health insurance coverage situation for children stood out as the uninsured rate was among those that rose the most. From 2016 to 2017 the exact rate of increase was 20.3 percent. This meant that in Utah alone, there were 71,000 children who were not covered by a health plan last year.