A new report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families shares the state-by-state change in children’s uninsurance rates between 2010 and 2012, and there’s good news for New Yorkers: we are in the top 5 of states showing reductions in the number of uninsured kids, with over 40,000 fewer uninsured kids within the two year period. New York State is a leader in maximizing coverage for children and has made steady progress in reducing uninsurance rates. For kids, public programs, such as the New York’s Child Health Plus plan – which covers children in families up to 400% of the federal poverty line – have filled the gap as employer-sponsored coverage has declined.
The numbers show that we’ve made good progress in New York, but there’s still some work to be done. Even with the drop in childhood uninsurance, more than 166,000 New York kids are still without health coverage. Also, while the coverage news is good for children overall, we’re still seeing disparities. For example, while the total child uninsurance rate dropped from 4.8% to 3.9% between 2010 and 2012, low-income children – at 5.2% – are still disproportionately uninsured. Older kids (age 6-17) are more likely to be uninsured than kids under 6. Finally, we need to take steps to make sure we make continued progress for children living in rural areas. While we had a statistically significant decline in uninsured children in urban areas, that is not the case for rural New Yorkers.
Providing health insurance has lasting benefits for children and families. When parents don’t have to worry about unpaid medical bills, the whole family is more financially secure. And when children’s health needs are met, they are better able to arrive at school ready to learn.