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Report: More NC Children Receive the Gift of Health Coverage

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Monday, December 23, 2013   

RALEIGH, N.C. - As North Carolina children count down the hours until Santa pays them a visit, more of them are living with the gift of health coverage. The percentage of uninsured children has reached an historic low in North Carolina, according to a report released today by Action for Children North Carolina and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine. The share of uninsured children has declined by 30 percent in the past five years, to 8.4 percent in 2012.

Adam Zolotor, vice president, N.C. Institute of Medicine, called it a big win.

"We've made pretty impressive gains in rates in insurance and access to care for all children in North Carolina, and so I think that's huge good news and needs to go out with fireworks," Zolotor said.

The report finds that long-term investments in Medicaid, N.C. Health Choice and early Affordable Care Act reforms are responsible for the shift. Officials expect bigger gains next year. The North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance estimated that 70,000 people - mostly children - will enroll in Medicaid in the coming year.

Zolotor added that raising children with health coverage helps foster a desire to make sure they maintain that coverage throughout their life. He recalled a recent conversation he had with a North Carolina mother.

"One of them was worried about figuring out how her 25 1/2-year-old who is about to graduate from graduate school was going to stay insured until he could find a job - and if that family wasn't used to having insurance, nobody would care."

Among other findings in the 2013 Child Health Report Card, poverty continues to be a threat to the well-being of the state's children. More than one in every four children in the state lives in poverty - an increase of 33 percent since 2007.

A link to the report can be found at www.nciom.org.




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