Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released new health insurance data, revealing good news for Kentuckians. The data shows an increase in health insurance coverage rates for people of all ages in Kentucky from 85.7 percent in 2013 to 94.0 percent in 2015. Kentucky’s overall coverage rate is now tied with two other states at 10th in the nation.

The one-year estimates from the American Community Survey revealed that 95.8 percent of Kentucky children under age 18 had health insurance in 2015, compared with 94.1 percent in 2013. This is an estimated increase of 12,000 children. The data from 2013 provides a benchmark for comparison, as more low-income adults became eligible for coverage through Medicaid expansion in January 2014.

We are not only glad that Kentucky’s child coverage rates continue to increase, but that adult insurance rates have improved, as well. We know that when parents have health insurance, their children are more likely to have health insurance and they are more likely to take their children to the doctor for preventive care.

Eligibility for children in the Medicaid program and the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) did not change from 2013 to 2015, indicating that the increases in coverage for children were likely an indirect result of more parents gaining health insurance through Medicaid expansion and Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, kynect.

While Kentucky continues to reduce its uninsured population, proposed changes to the Medicaid program by the Bevin Administration through an 1115 Waiver could reverse Kentucky’s gains in health coverage. The proposal would add more requirements for individuals covered under Medicaid expansion to maintain Medicaid coverage. If individuals fail to keep up the requirements, they will lose coverage.

Governor Bevin submitted his Administration’s 1115 Medicaid Waiver proposal to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and it is now open for public comment until October 8. After this timeframe, the Bevin Administration will be in a period of negotiation with CMS over the final waiver proposal. The proposal must be approved by CMS before it can be implemented in Kentucky.

As child advocates, we are concerned with many components of Governor Bevin’s 1115 Medicaid waiver proposal and we need your help.

We are counting on you to raise your voice by submitting public comments to CMS on the Bevin Administration’s 1115 Medicaid Waiver proposal.