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Even Before Recession, 14 Million Kids 'Underinsured': Study
Date:8/26/2010

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Even prior to the onset of the economic recession in 2008, nearly one in four American parents with health insurance reported that their coverage was so inadequate they were unable to access the medical care their children needed.

Parents of kids with health problems or special needs were more likely than others to say their insurance coverage did not meet their needs, the analysis of 2007 survey data showed.

And the problem of "underinsurance" seems to be worse for children covered by private insurance than those with government-funded coverage, the study found.

About a quarter (24.2 percent) of children with private health insurance had problems getting the care they needed, compared to 14.7 percent of children with public health insurance, such as Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

"Almost one-fourth of kids with continuous insurance were inadequately covered or underinsured, which is coverage that doesn't provide adequate benefits or provides poor coverage of costs from the parents' perspective," said lead study author Michael Kogan, director of the Office of Epidemiology, Policy and Evaluation at the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The study is published in the Aug. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers analyzed data on nearly 92,000 children who parents took part in the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health.

An estimated 11 million U.S. children were uninsured for some or all of 2007, including 3.4 million kids who had no coverage and 7.6 million who were covered part of the year, while 14.1 million had continuous coverage but were "underinsured."

Even if they had continuous insurance coverage, adolescents, Hispanics, children in fair or poor health and children with special needs were more likely to have trouble a
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