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759,000 children with asthma endure gaps in insurance every year
Date:1/15/2008

Every year, 759,000 children with asthma may be at risk of a major asthma attack while they have no health insurance. About 30 percent of those families earn more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, putting them above the threshold for the state childrens health insurance program in most states.

Too many children with this chronic condition are without insurance at some point during the year, said Jill Halterman, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester and author of the study that appears in Ambulatory Pediatrics today. These children need to have ongoing treatment from a primary care provider to avoid serious health complications. Without that, they are at increased risk for ongoing symptoms and even hospitalization.

About 13 percent of children with asthma were without insurance at some point during the year. That includes 2 percent or 114,000 children who were uninsured for the entire year. Those same children were 14 times more likely to have had an unmet need for medication than children with private insurance. Even those who gained insurance by the time of the survey were six times more likely to have missed out on needed medication.

The study, which is an analysis of data from the National Survey of Childrens Health (conducted by the Center for Disease Controls National Center for Health Statistics between January 2003 and July 2004), also showed that many children with asthma were not seeing a regular physician often enough. Almost one-third of parents of uninsured children said they had no personal primary care doctor for their child. More than one-third of parents of children who had lost insurance and about half of parents of children with no insurance for a full year said their child hadnt seen a personal doctor for preventive care in the past year.

Healthy children should see a physician for preventive care at least once a year. Children with asthma need even
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Contact: Heather Hare
heather_hare@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-2840
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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