There’s been a lot of attention, appropriate attention, focused on children without health insurance. These children tend to be in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to allow purchase of decent insurance. Medicaid covers around a quarter of America’s children.
There’s another insurance problem facing America’s children — under-insurance. For families who can’t get insurance through an employer, buying health insurance on the private market is expensive — prohibitively so for many families. So they buy a bare-bones policy that can easily turn out to be a total waste of money because it doesn’t give the coverage needed when a child actually gets sick. That’s called under-insurance. How common is it among America’s children? A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine gives us some idea of the answer.
The study takes the form of a survey done in 2007. It found that 19% of all children had inadequate health insurance. This was far more children than had no insurance at all during the year or who spent part of the year without insurance. What this means in practice is that a major illness in a child, such we often see in the PICU, can bankrupt a family even if they have some sort of coverage. Not surprisingly, “under-insured children were significantly more likely to have delayed or forgone care, and to have difficulty in obtaining needed specialist care.”
It’s too soon to see if the new healthcare bill will have any impact on this grim statistic. There are lots of interesting statistics in the article, analyzing many subgroups of children by income level and geographic location. If you’re interested at all in health policy, it’s well worth a look.
03/25/2011 • I've written before about how poor children and children without health insurance are far more likely to need PICU care than are more affluent children. For example, although children on Medicaid account for 20 - ...more
07/22/2008 • Mental health services have for many years been the poor stepchildren in our healthcare system. Even families with "good" insurance often found to their dismay, when they needed it, that coverage of mental health problems ...more
Still another reason your insurance premiums go up: cost-shifting from public to private payers is getting worse and worse
10/24/2011 • A recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine makes an interesting contrast between the approaches public and private health plans have taken in controlling costs. It points out how governmental health programs -- ...more
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07/08/2011 • I've written before about how children from poor families have a higher chance of needing PICU care than do children from more affluent families. Eligibility for Medicaid is a good marker for this; nearly half ...more
10/20/2008 • I've written before about how children from poor families have a higher chance of needing PICU care than do children from more affluent families. Eligibility for Medicaid is a good marker for this; nearly half ...more