Parents' Insurance Status Affects Their Children's Health Care--Even When The Children Are Insured

Insured children are less likely to have necessary health-care services if their parents are uninsured, according to a study published in the September/October issue of Annals of Family Medicine. HealthDay News reports on the new research, which shows the insured children whose parents do not have insurance "are at greater risk of having difficulty seeing a doctor, getting dental care and accessing prescription medications than kids in families where children and parents are insured. They're also less likely to receive counseling on healthy eating, routine exercise, use of a safety or booster seat, and use of seatbelts and bike helmets, the study found.

"The findings highlight the need to improve the current model of extending health insurance to children, but not necessarily to their parents, the study authors said. ... More than one in four children in the United States -- 29 percent -- have health coverage through either Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Currently, some 29 million children are enrolled in Medicaid, and another 7 million are covered through CHIP, the foundation said. While these public programs are considered vital for improving children's health, they are only part of the solution, experts say. ... Not surprisingly, uninsured children had the highest rates of unmet health-care needs. But the study also showed an association between parents' insurance status and children's access to health care" (Pallarito, 9/16).

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