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Survey finds that many children are underinsured Posted: October 4th, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Survey results, presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2010 National Conference and Exhibition held on October 3, 2010, shed doubt on whether simply insuring children is enough to keep them healthy. According to the study, one in eight parents has skipped recommended medical care for their children because of the cost, even though these families maintain health insurance.

Researchers surveyed parents in Ohio who maintained medical coverage for their children. The results, entitled "Parents Perspectives on their Children's Health Insurance: the Plight of the Underinsured," found that children in low to mid-income families were most likely to miss necessary treatments.

The reports main findings include:

  • 1 in 6 parents report increased difficulty in maintaining health insurance during the previous three years
  • 1 in 8 parents report skipping recommended care for their children in the past 12 months because they had concerns about making co-insurance payments
  • Children in families with annual incomes between $15,000-$75,000 were most likely to be underinsured

The investigators of the study believe that an explanation for high levels of underinsurance of children in lower income families that do not qualify for public insurance may be high deductibles and co-payments. In order to help prevent underinsurance, parents with private health insurance should balance the price of monthly premiums with the cost of deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance.