Louisville, KY – New health insurance data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed the percent of Kentucky children under 19 with health coverage remained unchanged from 2017 to 2018, at 96.2 percent. This compares with 93.6 percent in 2013 – the year prior to full implementation of the expansion of Kentucky’s Medicaid program.
“We’re in the midst of a gubernatorial campaign in which the divisive healthcare policy climate is front and center. And yet, even in the middle of that toxicity, ensuring that kids are covered is one common element on which all candidates and policymakers can agree. Having health insurance means children are able to access the preventive and ongoing care they need to stay healthy. It means that kids can visit the doctor and dentist, as well as mental health professionals, for the care they need to support their healthy development,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.
The one-year estimates from the American Community Survey shows that health insurance coverage for those under age 65, which includes both children and adults, increased from 83.4 percent in 2013 to 93.3 percent in 2018. The new data also shows that Kentucky’s estimate for health insurance coverage of those under age 65 is better than the national estimate of 89.6 percent.
“As child advocates, we know there is an undeniable link between parent’s coverage and their child’s coverage. The research is explicit. As more parents receive coverage and care, so will their kids,” said Dr. Brooks.
“Let’s not fail to celebrate. The fact that 96.2 percent of Kentucky kids are covered is remarkable. Yet, it is not good enough, as there are still nearly 40,000 youth who need to be connected with and enrolled in health insurance,” continued Dr. Brooks. “Making sure kids are covered is everyone’s business. We cannot rely on health professionals alone. That means that community leaders, faith communities, business leaders, and educators all can play a vital role in prioritizing kids’ health coverage and access. When a child has health coverage and has access to the quality care they need to stay healthy, they can thrive—making for a stronger, healthier Kentucky, both now and in the future.”
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.