Despite Tough Times, More Ohio Children Have Health Care
Ohio News Connection Reporting
Public perception is a bit off when it comes to how well Ohio is doing in improving children’s health coverage.
A poll released Wednesday from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families shows most people think more children are uninsured and living in poverty. Executive director Joan Alker says while the poverty rates are high, the number of kids without insurance has actually decreased in the last five years – largely because states like Ohio are working to get them enrolled in programs like Medicaid and CHIP.
Alker says both programs have been available during tough economic times to cover children in families who have lost their health coverage and can't afford to buy it on their own. Ohio saw an almost one-percentage point drop in its rate of uninsured children between 2010 and 2012.
Sandy Oxley with Voices for Ohio’s Children says the state has come a long way in the last several years to streamline Medicaid enrollment, and it's been a joint effort of family advocates, stakeholders, and state leaders.
Alker says one surprise in their findings was that nationally, rural children are uninsured at a higher rate, of almost eight percent, compared to the overall rate of just over seven percent.
Alker adds that most uninsured children are already eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, but are not enrolled, and building awareness is critical to change that.