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Health Insurance Coverage of Children in Iowa

Child at doctor exam

A survey conducted by the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa shows 3 percent of children without medical insurance. The results come as policymakers prepare for changes to health programs with the Affordable Care Act, which takes effect next year. 

Results from the Iowa Child and Family Household Health Survey (IHHS) on Health Insurance Coverage of Children in Iowa revealed implications for implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including increased incentive for families in Iowa to enroll their children in programs for which they are currently eligible, yet unenrolled.

In 2010-2011, only 3% of Iowa children were without medical insurance.  60 percent of these children were eligible for either Medicaid or hawk-i, Iowa’s version of the federal S-CHIP program.  If all eligible children were enrolled in these programs, a total of 99% of Iowa’s children would have health insurance.

With the insurance expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and individual mandates  scheduled to be enacted on January 1, 2014, families will be incentivized to pursue insurance plans for their children.  Because of the relatively low number of uninsured children in Iowa (3% in Iowa as compared to 8% in the United States), the impact should be fairly modest.

“Iowa is ahead of the curve as far as covering kids with medical insurance due to previous expansions of the Medicaid and hawk-i programs”, says Peter Damiano, the study’s primary author.

“This study provides vital information about the progress that Iowa has made in insuring our children, and helps to identify areas for further improvement” says Betsy Richey, IHHS Coordinator at the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

The IHHS is a collaborative effort of the Iowa Department of Public Health, the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, and the Iowa Child Health Specialty Clinics.  It is designed to measure the health and wellbeing of children and families in Iowa.  The population-based survey was conducted via telephone and internet from fall 2010 through spring 2011.  Families were asked over 165 questions regarding a randomly-selected child in their household and about their own insurance coverage, as well as topics related to their child’s health.

To learn more about the report, attend a Webinar on Tuesday, July 16 at 2:00 p.m.  To register, click here.

To read the full report, click here.