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Many Insured Parents Cannot Insure Kids

October 22, 2008

Many children, more than two million, lack health insurance while at least one employed parent is covered by health insurance provided by the parent’s employer, said researchers writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  

Data for this study was released by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The data was obtained between 2002 and 2005. The head of the agency, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, said that some of these uninsured children may be able to obtain public coverage, if their parents were aware of the programs.

Parents who are insured through work find that they cannot afford the extra costs required to cover their children. According to Dr. Jennifer DeVoe of the Oregon Health and Science University it does not always follow that uninsured children have uninsured parents. She added that parents who have reduced rate insurance at work find that they cannot afford to add their families to the plan.

Some short-term relief might be available by expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program that provides coverage for children from low and moderate income families. Two bills that would have produced more insurance coverage for children have been vetoed by President Bush. 

Two key issues in the campaign for president this year have been the excessive cost of health insurance and the number of Americans without health insurance. According to the Census Bureau about 45.7 million Americans were without health insurance in 2007. 

In 2007, according to the Census Bureau, 8.1 million children under the age of 18 had no health insurance. Researchers found that about 28 percent of these children had at least one parent with health insurance. This seems to be more prevalent in single parent and Hispanic households, and in families from the West and the South.

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