Getting children enrolled in public health insurance programs remains a challenge, according to a study.
Enrolling kids in public insurance presents challenge, study says
The study is one of several reports published in the July issue of Health Affairs that call for policy changes to better serve children through public health insurance programs.
In analyzing insurance trends from 2002 to 2008, Benjamin Sommers, an instructor at Harvard University's department of health policy and management, found that the worsening drop-out rates in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program have shown signs of improvement in recent years.
While the “presence of eligible children who drop out of Medicaid and CHIP continues to pose a major policy problem, state-level policies aimed at improving the drop-out rate have had some impact,” the study found.
Sommers believes poor “take up,” or initial enrollment of Medicaid and CHIP, is playing an increasingly important role as a cause of children lacking insurance, as opposed to those dropping out.
New documentation requirements for Medicaid applicants to prove their citizenship may be deterring new applicants to both of these programs, the study offered. “Several studies suggest that the documentation requirement led to decreases in public health insurance coverage, although these analyses have not demonstrated a clear, causal effect of the policy,” Sommers noted in his study.
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