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Report Indicates Indiana Needs to Improve Health Coverage for Children

Indiana's numbers have improved, but the state still has work to do when it comes to making sure all children have health insurance, according to a new report. (Lorie Gelwick Tuter)
Indiana's numbers have improved, but the state still has work to do when it comes to making sure all children have health insurance, according to a new report. (Lorie Gelwick Tuter)
October 27, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS – The United States has reached a milestone when it comes to making sure that all children have health insurance, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

It says 95 percent of the nation's children are covered. However, Indiana is lagging behind with a 93 percent coverage rate.

Susan Jo Thomas, executive director of Covering Kids and Families in Indiana, says the goal is to have a state full of healthy, happy children.

"When someone has coverage they get their preventative care, in the case of children, get their immunizations, they stay on track to get their developmental needs met, and basically just do a better job of being kids,” she points out. “Getting to school, getting to play sports."

Nearly 7 percent of Indiana children are not covered by a health insurance plan. The national average is around 5 percent.

Joan Alker, executive director, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, says the sharp decline in the uninsured rate can be attributed to health care reform.

"There's just been so much activity in this area with new coverage options thanks to the Affordable Care Act that for kids, it's really allowed them to build on the success that we already had from Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program)," she explains.

Thomas says the Affordable Care Act has given many Hoosier parents an option they couldn't afford before.

"Now we have given them a way to do what's right, get their families insured, get themselves insured, and get their preventative care instead of being reactive and waiting for a health crisis to come up in their life," she points out.

Between 2013 and 2015 the number of uninsured children in Indiana dropped from 130,000 to 106,000.


Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN