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Indiana Ranks 42nd in Rate of Uninsured Children

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015   

INDIANAPOLIS - While it lags behind other states, a report released today shows that Indiana is making great strides in ensuring children have health-care coverage.

Indiana ranked 42nd nationally for its rate of uninsured children in 2014, according to the research from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families. But the state saw nearly a 13 percent drop in the number of kids without health-care coverage compared with 2013.

Caitlin Priest, director of public policy for Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, said the state is on the right track with the Healthy Indiana Program.

"As HIP continues its robust enrollment, that's going to pull in with it a host of children who are going to be newly insured by a variety of programs," she said. "HIP is really going to be the bellwether of more positive change to come."

HIP 2.0, an alternative Medicaid expansion program, launched in February, and an estimated 337,000 Hoosiers have signed up for coverage. Indiana's rate of children without health insurance was 7.2 percent in 2014, higher than the national rate of 6 percent.

Joan Alker, executive director at the Georgetown center, said embracing the Affordable Care Act and expanding Medicaid were the major factors influencing which states saw greater declines in the rate of uninsured children.

"Many people don't think about Medicaid expansion as a kids' issue, but we know from past research that covering parents results in what we call a strong 'welcome mat' effect for kids," she said. "That means when the parent learns about their own coverage opportunity, they may learn their child is also eligible."

The report found that children in families living on the edge of poverty are disproportionately uninsured, along with kids living in rural areas and those of Hispanic ethnicity. Priest said she believes state leaders are committed to ensuring that more children will gain coverage.

"Kids' insurance is something that by and large tends to avoid the political drama that sometimes comes with other issues," she said. "Getting kids insured is something that everyone can get behind."

According to the report, when kids have health-care coverage, they are able to get the preventive care they need to stay healthy, achieve academically and have economic success as adults.

The report is online at ccf.georgetown.edu.


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