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More Than 2 Million Children With Insured Parents Are Uninsured; Most Are Low or Middle Income
Date:10/21/2008

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Some 2.3 million children a year, mostly from low- to middle-income families, have no health care coverage to pay for preventive or other medical needs, even though at least one of their parents is insured, according to a new study supported by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Center for Research Resources, part of HHS' National Institutes of Health.

The new study, published in the Oct. 22/29, 2008, online issue of JAMA, is one of the first to examine the characteristics of uninsured children under age 19 whose parents were insured all year. These children account for a quarter of the estimated 9 million uninsured children in the United States.

Researchers led by Jennifer DeVoe, M.D., of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, studied 2002-2005 national data from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and found that children from low-income families where at least one parent had health insurance were more than twice as likely to be uninsured at some point during the year as were similar children from high-income families. They were also 73 percent more likely to be uninsured for more than 6 months. In 2005, a typical, low-income family of four earned between roughly $24,000 and $39,000, whereas the typical high-income family of four earned more than $77,000 a year.

Children from middle-income families -- those earning between $39,000 and $77,000 a year for a typical four-member family -- had a 48 percent greater chance of being uninsured with at least one insured parent at some point during the year compared with high-income children and had a 56 percent higher likelihood of being uninsured for over 6 months.

"These findings add to our understanding of children's health care coverage gaps," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "When children are insured, they have improved access to a regular source of care, including preventive he
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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