Uninsured Children: Characteristics, Consequences and Solutions
Authors: Kathryn Kay Lemmond
Abstract: The aim of this paper was to examine the issue of children’s health insurance and increase awareness of the problems a lack of insurance can have for children. This paper focuses on the characteristics of children in Georgia who do not have health insurance and the negative impact a lack of health insurance has on those children. Children without health insurance are less likely to have access to health care than covered children. This difference in access results in lower infant survival rates, poorer overall health and more frequent illnesses for uninsured children. Poor health leads to children staying home from school more frequently, which in turn leads to decreased success in school and beyond. These problems are a reality for the 300,000 uninsured children in Georgia alone. However, there is room for great improvement in Georgia because two-thirds of Georgia’s uninsured children are eligible for insurance through a public program. One third of uninsured children are eligible for Peach Care for Kids, Georgia’s S-CHIP program, the other third are eligible for Medicaid. Reasons for not enrolling are many, including insufficient program funding, administrative barriers and churning. To truly improve the state of children’s health in Georgia, policy makers must be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of programs in other states, yet at the same time bear in mind the factors that require Georgia to adopt a uniquely-tailored solution to its problem of uninsured children.