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Even with Insured Parent, Youths May Be Uninsured

More than 3 percent in sample group were uninsured

TUESDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- More than 3 percent of children and adolescents with at least one parent covered by health insurance in a sample were uninsured, according to research published in the Oct. 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jennifer E. DeVoe, M.D., of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues analyzed 2002 through 2005 data from a subsample of the National Health Interview Survey. The researchers assessed the health insurance status of youths with at least one insured parent, and conducted a cross-sectional, point-in-time analysis based on whether at least one parent was insured on Dec. 31 of the given year, and a full-year analysis in which at least one parent was insured during every month of the given year.

In the cross-sectional group, 3.3 percent of the youths were uninsured, the investigators found. Uninsured children and adolescents were more likely to be Hispanic than white (odds ratio, 1.58), low or middle income than high income (OR, 2.02 and 1.48, respectively) and living in single-parent homes versus homes with two married parents (OR, 1.99). In the full-year estimates, 4.1 percent of youths with a parent insured all year had a coverage gap, the researchers report.

In a research letter from the same issue examining health care in children according to potential eligibility thresholds for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), among uninsured children in income categories below 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), 42 to 54 percent did not have medical care in the previous year. "SCHIP has been shown to improve health care access, use and quality of care and to reduce pre-existing disparities. These findings show that expansion of SCHIP to cover 200 percent to 400 percent of FPL has the potential to help many children receive needed care," the authors of the letter conclude.

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