Study: 60,000 Children Qualify For Health Insurance, But Are Not Enrolled

By: Matt Barbour Email
By: Matt Barbour Email

There is new information on the number of children in Kentucky that don't have health insurance.

Research from the Kentucky Voices for Health shows more than 60,000 children qualify for health insurance programs, but are not enrolled.

It’s family practitioners like Dr. Dirk Curry of Pikeville Medical Family Practice that understand the frustrations of applying for child health programs.

“It does make it difficult for families, and they say ‘why bother?’,” says Dr. Curry.

A study by the Kentucky Voices for Health shows out of 93,000 children in Kentucky that don't have health insurance, two thirds of them qualify for Medicaid and the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program.

“When these kids don't have health coverage, nothing else matters. They can't go to school and learn and focus on their learning environment if they're not healthy,” says Dr. Curry.

Patrick Jefferys, the Project Director for Kentucky Voices for Health, says it's the application process that makes getting coverage difficult. Kentucky is one of four states that requires a face-to-face interview, and he says that's hard on parents.

“So they spend a lot of time working as much as they can so they can pay their other bills, and so they don't really have time to take off time to take off work to go sign their kid up for KCHIP or Medicaid and other programs,” says Jefferys.

“Why make it hard for somebody to achieve getting health care? By difficult application processes, having to go to certain areas to have that process achieved,” says Dr. Curry.

“Really, we're just trying to build our coalition to a group of people that really help, care about helping more families, especially kids get health coverage,” says Jefferys.

That’s something he and others in the medical field say is a top priority.

Jefferys says the number of uninsured children in Kentucky could easily drop if the state used mail-in and online applications.

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