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Insured Kids With Uninsured Parents Miss Needed Health Care
Date:9/16/2009

Study finds they're more likely to go without checkups, preventive counseling,,,,

THURSDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Children with health insurance coverage are more likely to miss necessary health-care services if their parents are uninsured, new research shows.

These children are at greater risk of having difficulty seeing a doctor, getting dental care and accessing prescription medications than kids in families where children and parents are insured. They're also less likely to receive counseling on healthy eating, routine exercise, use of a safety or booster seat, and use of seatbelts and bike helmets, the study found.

The findings highlight the need to improve the current model of extending health insurance to children, but not necessarily to their parents, the study authors said.

"We've been incrementally covering more and more kids, and that's important, but we can't stop there," said study lead author Dr. Jennifer E. DeVoe, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. "We need to make sure that families are covered -- kids and parents."

More than one in four children in the United States -- 29 percent -- have health coverage through either Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Currently, some 29 million children are enrolled in Medicaid, and another 7 million are covered through CHIP, the foundation said.

While these public programs are considered vital for improving children's health, they are only part of the solution, experts say.

"In the public-policy arena, there is often a tendency to consider children a 'deserving' population who should have greater access than adults to publicly sponsored health insurance," said Shana Alex Lavarreda, a research scientist for the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of Cali
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