Report on health insurance coverage of Iowa children shows gaps

as a unit rather than simply covering children. This could lead parents to use services appropriately, receive regular preventive care and establish a medical home for themselves and their children. Thus, finding ways to cover parents, who are generally young adults with relatively low health care costs, is an important consideration from a policy-making point of view," he added.

Nationally and in this Iowa study, rates of insured adults are about twice the rates of insured children. The Iowa study revealed that after parents enrolled their children into the hawk-i insurance program, there was a slight increase in the number of parents who had health insurance.

Damiano said it is not clear why the positive effect is happening. He also said it is important to note that nearly 80 percent of the uninsured are working adults and their families.

"Another major issue with uninsured children is that it puts stress on the family," Damiano said. "Nearly half of the parents who had uninsured children said they were worried about their children's well-being."

In contrast, such worry was expressed by only 16 percent of parents with children covered by Medicaid and by 5 percent of parents with children covered by private insurance.

The racial distribution of the families was 90 percent white. However, Latino children were twice as likely as non-Latino children to be uninsured. The number of children in the other racial/ethnic groups was too small to adequately measure differences in this study, Damiano said.

The study was funded by a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. The report is available online at http://ppc.uiowa.edu/health/iowachild2000/index.html.

A previous report by the UI Public Policy Center and the Iowa Department of Human Services showed that the hawk-i program increas

Contact: Becky Soglin
University of Iowa

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