Improvement, But Not Success, on Health Insurance for Children

February 18, 2016


By Lyle Adriano, Insurance Business America

The proportion of children without health insurance in Florida has dropped, according to a recently published study. The state’s figure, however, remains above the national average, marking Florida as one of the five states with the highest rates of uninsured children in the country.

The study, released Feb. 11 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, revealed that the percentage of children in Florida without insurance dropped from 11.7% in 2013 to 9.6% in 2014.

In detail, the report found that the decline in uninsured children was most pronounced among non-white children, which went down by 3.1%. Another significant decline was observed among children living in families below 138% of the federal poverty level, with a 2.8% reduction.

Despite the seeming improvement, the report noted that Florida’s 9.6% is significantly higher than the national average of 6.3%. An estimated 413,000 children in the region lack insurance, the report suggested.

“Any way we look at it, Florida still has too many uninsured children,” said Florida CHAIN policy and research director Laura Brennaman.

It was the Affordable Care Act and the health insurance marketplace it established that the report’s authors credited for the improvement in child insurance figures. While the federal health law was geared towards adults, it helped children whose parents purchased coverage.

The report also noted that many ACA outreach efforts also disseminated information on state-run insurance programs aimed toward children, which could have helped improve the figures as well.

“People who might not have realized they were eligible for (public) coverage found out about it,” remarked Robert Wood Johnson Foundation director of coverage issues Katherine Hempstead.

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