Nationally, the number of uninsured children decreased to 5.5 million in 2011 from 6.4 million in 2009, according to a new report by the Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. New York has contributed to that success by extending coverage to more children through Medicaid and Child Health Plus. The state has successfully reduced the number of uninsured children from about 205,000 in 2009 to about 181,000 in 2011.
“Children need health care coverage to grow and thrive so this is good news for New York and the nation,” said Joan Alker, Co-Executive Director of the Georgetown University research center.
New York has made progress but still ranks 6th in terms of states with the highest number of uninsured children in the nation. Half of all uninsured children live in Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and New York.
“While the uninsured rate for New York children is heading in the right direction, we can do more toto ensure that every child has the coverage they need and deserve,” according to Kate Breslin, Executive Director of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.
About 96 percent of New York children have health care coverage while the success of Medicaid’s companion program, Medicare, has brought the insured rate for seniors up to about 99 percent.
In New York, school-age children are more likely to be uninsured than those age 6 and under.
“Most of New York’s uninsured children are already eligible for coverage through Medicaid or Child Health Plus but haven’t enrolled because they don’t realize they qualify or have been unable to overcome bureaucratic barriers to enrollment,” Lorraine Gonzalez, Director of Health Policy at the Children’s Defense Fund – New York.
New York is now working on making the enrollment process easier by removing unnecessary paperwork requirements and setting up an online application. Those improvements are expected to be completed by 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act implementation.
“There’s been a lot of talk about all the help uninsured people can expect in 2014 but New York’s uninsured kids don’t have to wait that long,” said Kate Breslin. “They are very likely to be eligible for affordable coverage right now.”
To apply for public health insurance in New York, click here to find a Facilitated Enroller near you.
The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) is an independent, nonpartisan policy and research center. Click here for the full report.