Study finds little change in kids with health insurance from 2018 to 2019

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ)New health insurance data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau shows the percent of Kentucky children under 19 with health coverage was 96.2 percent in 2019, not statistically different from 2018.

Broken down along racial lines, the numbers do show some disparities.

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The report found 97.1 percent of Black children have insurance, 95.9 percent of non-Hispanic White children were covered, and 90.8 percent of Hispanic children have insurance.

“The health and well-being of children is top of mind for families and leaders alike as the commonwealth and nation continue to address the ongoing and disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the middle of the toxicity of election season, ensuring that every Kentucky child is covered is a goal in which all candidates and policymakers can agree,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “Having health insurance means children are able to access critical preventive and ongoing care needed to stay healthy. It means that kids can visit the doctor, dentist, and mental health professionals to support their healthy development.”

The one-year estimates from the American Community Survey show health insurance coverage for those under age 65, which includes both children and adults, increased from 83.4 percent in 2013, the year prior to full implementation of the expansion of Kentucky’s Medicaid program, to 92.3 percent in 2019.

The new data also show Kentucky’s health insurance coverage rate for those under age 65 is better than the national rate of 89.2 percent.

Additionally, data collected between mid-July through the end of August as part of the Household Pulse Survey show 93 percent of Kentucky adults in households with minor children are insured.

“Research explicitly tells us that there is a link between parent’s coverage and their children’s coverage, which means as more parents receive coverage and care, so will their kids. Governor Beshear’s ongoing Medicaid and KCHIP enrollment efforts will not only benefit the enrollee, but also their family and the commonwealth because healthier Kentuckians means a healthier workforce. And kids and the state budget are relying on Congress to support pandemic recovery efforts and the well-being of families, including budget commitments that support the state Medicaid program,” said Dr. Brooks.

“Despite Kentucky’s impressive rate of children with health coverage, there are still approximately 45,000 youth who need to be connected with and enrolled in health insurance. Making sure kids are covered and have access to care is everyone’s business. And we can all agree that every child in Kentucky deserves to be healthy and hopeful now and into the future,” said Dr. Brooks.