The State of Ohio receives nationwide attention for a number of things. One of our hometown favorites is our beloved Buckeyes. However, in the Buckeye State the number of children without health insurance coverage has become a pertinent issue. According to reports, an estimated 41,642 infants, toddlers and preschoolers went without coverage in 2018, a 40% jump which ranked as third-highest in the nation.
There are advocates now urging Republican Governor Mike DeWine’s administration to improve and promote access to coverage since nearly half of Ohio children are insured through the state’s Medicaid program and Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Over the years the number of children under the age of 6 without health insurance has been on the decline. But the rate for uninsured infants, toddlers and preschoolers climbed to 5% in 2018 from 3.6% in 2016.
“This trend is deeply disturbing because we know children experience rapid brain development during the earliest years of life, before they start kindergarten,” said Shannon Jones, executive director of Groundwork Ohio, a leading child advocacy group. Jones says the time to act is now, as the window of opportunity to improve is slim.
By law, children can get care at hospitals regardless of insured status, but it is more than evident that these children do not have or receive regular care or wellness check ups during the most important brain development period.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics it is recommended that children receive 15 well-child visits before age 6, with most of those taking place in the child’s first two years.
Governor DeWine said Friday that he had asked Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran “to see what steps that we can take to deal with this.”
“I’ve asked her to see if there is some way to make re-enrollment easier and that it is not a hurdle … We should make it as easy as possible to keep a child in,” DeWine said.
More than half of the nation’s uninsured infants, toddlers and preschoolers live in seven states: Texas, with the highest share, followed by Florida, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Arizona.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch