Most kids have health insuranceNews added by Benefits Pro on November 22, 2013

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By Dan Cook

Think kids in America don’t have health coverage? Lots of U.S. adults do believe a high percentage of children aren’t covered. But that’s not the case.

Fully 93 percent of children in the United States have health coverage, and that percent is on the upswing, not declining, as many think.

This information comes from a study by PerryUndem Research and Communications, commissioned by Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. The study, based on responses from 1,000 U.S. adults, found that only seniors report a higher degree of health coverage — 99 percent — than children.

Meanwhile, less than 80 percent of non-senior adults said they have health insurance.

The study said that, when asked if they thought more kids were going without health coverage, “majorities of survey respondents believe the number of children who are uninsured and living in poverty has increased” during the last five years.

To gather the information on health coverage, researchers analyzed health insurance data from the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey. That’s where the truth about children’s health coverage was buried.

Millions of children still live in poverty, with 22.6 percent of children listed as children in poverty by the Census Bureau. But Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are working to ensure that free or very low cost insurance is available to families to protect their children’s health, Georgetown said.

Here are specific findings from the survey of adults:
  • 55 percent think the number of uninsured children in their state has increased in the last five years.
  • 30 percent think it’s remained the same.
  • 13 percent correctly reported that the number has decreased.
  • 51 percent told surveyors they thought at least 20 percent of the children in their state didn’t have health insurance.
  • 24 percent thought the number was as high as 33 percent of children.
The breakdown of where uninsured children live was reported by Georgetown as:
  • 45.5 percent of uninsured children live in the South
  • 29.4 percent in the West
  • 15.6 percent in the Midwest
  • 9.4 percent in the Northeast.
Do American children have a right to health insurance? Most respondents said they did. Here’s the breakdown by ideology:
  • 99 percent of Democrats think they do.
  • 87 percent of independent voters think they do.
  • 78 percent of Republicans think they do.
“It’s understandable given the slow economic recovery that people would assume that more children are becoming uninsured,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University CCF. “But Americans are largely unaware that behind the scenes, Medicaid and CHIP are working to reduce the number of uninsured children.”

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