Many children still lack adequate health insurance coverage, particularly for medications. To help these patients and their families get healthier without getting poorer, resourceful pediatricians can investigate patient assistance programs, community resources and patient advocacy groups.

When it comes to medication, even children covered by Medicaid can be shortchanged. Take children with eczema; many need hydrating creams to relieve the itching. Yet their families sometimes cannot afford such creams, and Medicaid often won’t cover them, noted Michael Weitzman, M.D., FAAP, a University of Rochester, N.Y., pediatrics professor.

“There is great futility and frustration amongst people who take care of poor and near-poor kids in trying to figure out how to get them medications, because what is or isn’t covered isn’t always clear,” Dr. Weitzman said.

And while the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) has improved health care access for children in low-income families, “Many or most of the new...

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