- Flores G, et al. Int J Equity Health. 2016;15:44, http://bit.ly/1SUOF2r.
More than half of uninsured minority children could be missing out on health care because their parents don’t realize they are eligible for federal benefits, researchers found.Roughly 53% of uninsured children in the U.S. are African-American or Latino.
“Our findings indicate an urgent need for better parental education about Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP),” author Glenn Flores, M.D., FAAP, distinguished chair of health policy research for the Medica Research Institute, said in a news release. “The findings also indicate a need to improve Medicaid/CHIP outreach and enrollment.”
Roughly 53% of uninsured children in the U.S. are Latino or African-American, according to the study. Researchers analyzed data on 267 minority children who were uninsured despite being eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. On average, the participants had been uninsured 14 months, often because they never reapplied after their insurance expired. About 5% had never been insured, commonly citing high costs.
Roughly 49% of parents said they were unaware their child was eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, according to the study. Other studies have shown barriers include a lack of knowledge about eligibility and how to apply, language and immigration issues, and misinformation.
Approximately 66% of the uninsured children had special health care needs but nearly as many did not have a primary care provider.
“Our data indicate that special efforts should be made to target populations at highest risk of parental unawareness of children's Medicaid/CHIP eligibility, including those uninsured the longest, those at the higher end of income eligibility, and Latinos,” Dr. Flores said.