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Report: HUSKY Health Gets High Marks, Could Do More

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More than 24,000 Connecticut children still have no health-insurance coverage. (Jacob Sippel/U.S. Navy)
More than 24,000 Connecticut children still have no health-insurance coverage. (Jacob Sippel/U.S. Navy)
January 9, 2019

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut is providing quality health care to more than 330,000 children but could reach more, according to a new report.

The report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families ranked the state 12th in the nation for the rate of children covered by its HUSKY Health program, which includes Medicaid and CHIP. However, Patricia Baker, president and chief executive of the Connecticut Health Foundation, pointed out that the state lags behind New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island in reaching those who need coverage.

"Eighty-two percent of children living in or near poverty are covered in Medicaid," she said, "but we have ways to improve the program to make us number one."

The report estimated that more than 24,000 Connecticut children still have no source of health coverage.

More than half of those who are uninsured probably are eligible for HUSKY Health. One problem is that parents' income may fluctuate, causing them to lose eligibility temporarily. Baker said an important improvement would be adopting 12-month continuous coverage.

"With that," she said, "you have an opportunity to consistently provide the health care that is really critical for early-childhood development."

Twenty-four states currently have full-year eligibility for children under Medicaid.

Baker said the importance of providing consistent, quality health care goes far beyond the child's immediate health and well-being.

"Ongoing health coverage improves not only health outcomes but children's development," she said, "whether it's educational outcomes as well as productivity."

The report also recommended that Connecticut take steps to improve health coverage for pregnant women to ensure safe, full-term deliveries and healthy newborns.

The report is online at cthealth.org.

Andrea Sears/Dallas Heltzell, Public News Service - CT