Report on health insurance coverage of Iowa children shows gaps

A new report on health insurance coverage of Iowa children indicates that nearly 90,000 children in the state are uninsured at some point in the year. Some programs, however, are available to help families, and more could be done to expand, as well as educate people about, options.

The findings are included in the report "Health Insurance Coverage of Children in Iowa," a collaborative effort by the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Child Health Specialty Clinics based at the UI. The report was based on the Iowa Child and Family Household Health Survey of summer 2000.

The analysis is the first comprehensive attempt statewide to evaluate the status of health insurance for children, and the report points to several trends that policymakers should consider, said Peter Damiano, D.D.S., one of the report's authors and director of the Health Policy Research Program at the UI Public Policy Center.

"One of the most important things we saw was that nearly one in eight children, or 12 percent, were without health insurance at some point in 2000. Although the data are from 2000, national studies indicate that the number of insured children has not changed since then," said Damiano, who also is a professor in the UI College of Dentistry.

The survey used telephone interviews of randomly selected families in the state. Of 4,590 families contacted, 71 percent, or 3,241, agreed to participate in an interview. Each interview included nearly 125 questions and was conduced by the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at the University of Northern Iowa.

The study found that at the time of the interviews, 6 percent of the families had no insurance for their children. Another 6 percent of the families reported their children were uninsured at some point in the prior 12 months. Combined, these figures indicate 12 percent of Iowa children (approximately 90,000) are uninsured annually.


Contact: Becky Soglin
University of Iowa

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