Parents Often Confused About Kids' Health
THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Many American children
who qualify for public health insurance may be missing out on
coverage because their parents are confused about enrollment and
eligibility, new research indicates.
The study looked at children in 10,175 low-income households in
Oregon and found that about 23 percent of children enrolled in the
Food Stamp Program were not enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan
(OHP), the state's combined Medicaid-Children's Health Insurance
Program (CHIP). Eligibility requirements are similar for both
The researchers then analyzed 2,681 responses they received from
a mailed survey designed to assess whether parents' confusion about
their children's eligibility for OHP resulted in nonenrollment.
More than 20 percent of parents with children not enrolled in
OHP said their children
were enrolled in the program, and parents of 11.3 percent of
children enrolled in OHP said their children were
not enrolled in the program, the survey found.
The researchers also found that eligible children who weren't
enrolled in OHP tended to be older, live in families with higher
incomes, and have employed and uninsured parents.
"Our data suggest that insurance coverage is a transient phenomenon for many low-income children," the researchers wrote. "If Medicaid and CHIP are to be pillars in future health insurance reforms, public health programs should continue to work toward providing stable coverage and systems that increase parental knowledge and awareness of their children's eligibility and enrollment status."
The study is published online and in the May print issue of the
American Journal of Public Health.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about
insurance for children.
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