More Kentucky children have health care coverage under Medicaid expansion, new report shows

KY Youth Advocates logoThe number of Kentucky children without health insurance fell by 27% over a one-year period, according to a new report by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families and Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA), helping the state move from 28th place to 15th place in state rankings on children’s health care coverage. Children in both urban and rural areas saw improvements in their uninsured rates.

“Once again, the benefits of establishing kynect and expanding health care coverage to more Kentuckians have been independently substantiated in a new report released this week by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families and Kentucky Youth Advocates,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “While most people would agree that a healthy child is a better, more productive student, the report found even greater returns in the long term. Children with Medicaid coverage were less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to graduate from college, making them healthier and more successful adults who are less likely to be reliant on government assistance. When we invest early and often in the health and well-being of our children, we are investing in the economic future of our Commonwealth. And the return we see on that investment is priceless.”

The report, which compared 2013 and 2014 Census data, estimated that the number of uninsured children in Kentucky declined from about 60,000 in 2013 to about 43,000 in 2014. The report authors attribute the gains to the strong Medicaid and KCHIP programs and improvements to Kentucky’s health coverage system, such as the creation of kynect.

“When children have health care coverage, they are able to get the preventive care they need to stay healthy and show up for school ready to learn,” said Terry Brooks, KYA executive director. “It also means their families can afford to take them to the doctor when they are sick so they don’t wind up having to rely on more expensive hospital care if they get sicker.”

The report also notes that improvements to children’s coverage have been shown to provide a strong return on government investment. Research shows that children with Medicaid coverage were less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to graduate from college. They also had better health and economic success as adults making them less reliant on safety net programs.

Families who would like to enroll their children in health care coverage should call 1-855-459-6328 or visit kynect.ky.gov. Families can enroll their children in Medicaid or KCHIP at any time; open enrollment for private health plans begins on Sunday, November 1.

The full report can be found online by clicking here.