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Teens Get Needed Access to Care With State Health Insurance

ey were worried about their child’s health and they said they were more satisfied with their providers and care.

Parents were more likely to report that their adolescent visited a specialist or used prescription medications in the program. Emergency department use and other specialty services use did not change during enrollment, which suggests that the program targets needed access, not merely increased use of all health care.

Another significant finding of the program was the elimination of racial disparities in access to care among adolescents, bringing the percentage of all adolescents in the program seeking care with the same health care professionals up to about 95 percent -- an especially noteworthy boost up from 75 percent of black adolescents and 74 percent of Hispanic adolescents prior to enrollment..

In spite of these improvements, unmet health care needs remained relatively high, with more than 40 percent of adolescents reporting unmet needs even after they had enrolled in SCHIP.

"This study shows that if you give adolescents insurance, it improves their access to care and eliminates disparities while promoting effective use of preventive care," Klein said. "Enrolling adolescents in these state insurance programs is a good investment because with greater access to preventative care, these children will be more likely to learn ways to grow into healthy, productive adults."

Child Health Plus

New York’s child health insurance program, Child Health Plus, was created in 1991 and uses managed care plans. New York children are eligible for coverage between birth and 18 years of age, if they are at or below 230 percent of the federal poverty level, if they have no other insurance and are not eligible for Medicaid. The program was created to cover the gap between families who qualify for Medicaid and families who have private insurance. Child Health Plus served as a model for other state’s pr
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