Monday, December 5, 2011

Number of Kids in PA Without Health Insurance on the Decline

Tom Joseph
HARRISBURG, Penn. - The number of Pennsylvania children who don't have health insurance is down, according to a new report from Georgetown University. It says more than 14,000 children who were without coverage in 2008, now have it. And it says just over five percent of kids statewide are without coverage, which is among the best rates in the nation.

Michael Race with Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, says increasing CHIP participation is an issue the state has been working on for a long time.

"We launched the CHIP program in Pennsylvania actually 19 years ago, December second. That program has since become a model for other states and even for the national CHIP model."

Still, says Race, that five percent without coverage amounts to 144,000 children without ready access to the medical care they will need to grow up healthy.

He adds Pennsylvania is trying to further narrow the gap by taking the reins under certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, setting up its own health insurance exchange to guarantee that people can compare their health insurance options and select the best possible health insurance at the best prices for their needs and budgets.

"Pennsylvania obviously has a better handle on its insurance needs, including children's insurance, than the federal government might have."

Whatever money is spent to broaden the coverage in Pennsylvania, adds Race, it amounts to an investment in the future.

"If children can get preventive care, they can get immunizations, they can get routine check-ups, dental check-ups, mental health check-ups. That saves countless dollars down the road."

The report is online at

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