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New York Near Top for Children’s Health Insurance

More than 97 percent of New York children now have health insurance. (Bill Branson/Wikimedia Commons)
More than 97 percent of New York children now have health insurance. (Bill Branson/Wikimedia Commons)
October 27, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York state reduced the number of uninsured children by almost 40 percent in two years, the fifth largest decline in uninsured children in the nation, according to a report released today by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

The report shows between 2013 and 2015, the number of children without health insurance in the state dropped by 67,000, achieving an overall insurance rate of 97.5 percent.

Kate Breslin, president and CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, says implementation of the Affordable Care Act was a big part of the progress.

"That just really accelerated the positive trends that we had been seeing in New York, and we see a lot more kids with affordable, high quality coverage through Medicaid and CHIP," she states.

Forty-one states reduced the percentage of uninsured children in that time period, reaching what the report calls a historic milestone of 95 percent of all children with health coverage.

But there is room for improvement, advocates say.

According to Joan Alker, director of the Georgetown Center and co-author of the report, nationally, Native American children have the highest uninsured rate.

"And then Hispanic children have the next highest,” she adds. “But Hispanic children, because they are a growing part of our population, are disproportionately uninsured."

Alker says raising awareness of the availability of affordable health coverage for children is key to reaching the uninsured.

There are still more than 100,000 children in New York without health insurance.

Breslin notes that children are more likely to be covered when their parents are insured.

"One way of reaching some of that last, remaining group of children will be also making sure that we're reaching out to parents of those kids," she points out.

Breslin adds that studies show children with health insurance are more likely to do well in school and lead more productive lives as adults.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY