Kentucky Remains Top Ten State in the Nation for Health Coverage
Louisville, KY – New health insurance data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that the percent of people with health insurance (of all ages) in Kentucky increased from 85.7 percent in 2013 to 94.6 percent in 2017. Kentucky continues to have the 8th highest rate among states of people with health insurance. The one-year estimates from the American Community Survey revealed that 96.2 percent of Kentucky children under 19 had health insurance in 2017, compared with 93.6 percent in 2013. This represents tens of thousands of additional Kentucky children having health coverage.
“As child advocates, we are glad to see continued progress in health coverage for all Kentuckians. Having health insurance means children are able to visit the doctor and the dentist to get the care they need to stay healthy. It means parents can take care of their health needs, so they can stay healthy and provide for their family. And, we know there is an undeniable link between parent’s coverage and their child’s coverage. As more parents receive coverage and care, so will their kids,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.
Earlier this year, Congress prioritized children’s health by approving a full funding extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for ten years. Kentucky’s version of the program, KCHIP, has been a critical factor in lowering the number of uninsured children by providing affordable health insurance for children with working parents who are struggling to make ends meet.
“CHIP is a strong example of a bipartisan policy that has been effective at delivering quality health insurance to children in the way states see fit. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle supported CHIP because if works for kids,” said Dr. Brooks.
The new data also shows that health insurance coverage for those under age 65, which includes both children and adults, increased from 83.4 percent in 2013 to 93.7 percent in 2017. Kentucky’s 2017 estimate for health insurance coverage of people under age 65 is also better than the national estimate of 89.8 percent.
On the state level, the Bevin Administration continues to seek approval of its 1115 Medicaid Waiver to make changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program after the federal court ruling to halt implementation on July 1, 2018. The proposal, known as Kentucky HEALTH, protects children, pregnant women, and former foster youth up to age 26 from the potential negative impacts of premiums, reduced benefit packages, and lockout periods. Because parents’ health coverage is vitally important to children’s health coverage, the Medicaid program must be simple for families to understand, participate in, and utilize. That will help Kentucky maintain these gains in health coverage and ensure parents can improve health outcomes for themselves and their children.
“As the administration continues negotiations around the Medicaid Waiver, minimizing barriers to coverage must remain a vital component to ensuring children do not lose their coverage, even if children are exempt from changes,” said Dr. Brooks.
“In an environment where health policy is so partisan, our state and federal leaders continue to prioritize health coverage for children. And Kentucky has made obvious strides over the years in getting more families covered. We can’t afford to slow down that progress because healthy kids and families means a healthier, more prosperous Kentucky,” added Dr. Brooks.
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 kyyouth.org.