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How kids with disabilities are insured

If your interests lean wonkish, chances are you’re been paying some attention to the Supreme Court lately. A decision is expected anytime on the Affordable Care Act, which will shape how health reform continues to be implemented.

Like everyone else with skin in the game, we here at Voices for Children are waiting to see what will happen . . . and waiting . . . and waiting. While we wait, let’s see what’s going on with Nebraska kids and their health insurance status. A general overview looks like this:

  •  6.4% are uninsured;
  • 70.3% have private health insurance; and
  • 26.7% have public health insurance [1].

Those stats are for the kids-under-18 population.* Something interesting starts happening when we dig further into the data – especially when we consider kids with disabilities.

Kids with disabilities are slightly more likely than their peers to be insured (94.3% compared with 93.6%), meaning they are more likely to access health-care services. What is concerning, however, is that children with disabilities are more likely to be low-income. While 38% of Nebraska children are considered low-income, this rate rises to 56% among kids who are disabled.

Perhaps for this reason, as well as the higher costs associated with health problems, children who have disabilities are twice as likely as their non-disabled counterparts to rely on public insurance for health care. The below chart highlights insurance coverage by disability status.

Insurance and disability

What’s the lesson here? I see a couple: 1) children with disabilities are more likely to be low-income and 2) the availability of public insurance is particularly critical for kids who are most in need of health care.

What do you see in these data? Let us know while we all wait for that Supreme Court decision.

 

* Gold star to anyone who caught that the total exceeds 100%. Some children may be counted twice because they have both private and public insurance.

1. All data are from the 2008-2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, U.S. Census Bureau.

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