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Implement ACA’s new Medicaid options – Support for LB 577


Although children are already eligible for Medicaid at a higher income level, this LB 577 would allow uninsured parents with incomes between about 60% and 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) access to health insurance.

There are multiple ways in which children benefit from parental health insurance.  The first is that extending Medicaid coverage to parents has a spillover benefit for children.  Kids Connection and the income eligibility increase for the program in 2009 have helped to decrease the number of uninsured children in the state.  However, in 2011 about 18,000 income-eligible children remained uninsured.[1]  Several studies have shown a correlation between parental and child insurance rates.  One study found that nearly 75% of uninsured children have at least one uninsured parent and that states that expand Medicaid to parents show uninsured rates among low-income children that are over 40% lower.[2]

Parents are also more likely to have better knowledge of the health care system and better utilize care on behalf of their children if they themselves are insured.  One study found that providing Medicaid to uninsured children results in a 14% increase in well-child visits, while extending coverage to both children and parents increases well-child visits by 24%.  The opposite was also true.  Having an uninsured parent reduces the probability of a well-child visit by 3.5% among publicly insured children and by 11.8% among privately insured children.[3]

Finally, children benefit from having healthy parents who are better able to care for their needs.  Adults who lack health insurance are more likely to delay or fail to seek treatment for physical or mental health issues.[4]  These issues can ultimately impact a parent’s ability to adequately care for their children.



[1] U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, Table B27016

[2] Lambrew, J.M. 2001. Health Insurance: A Family Affair. (The Commonwealth Fund, New York).

[3] Gifford, E.J., R. Weech-Maldano, P. Farley-Short. 2005. Low-Income Children’s Preventive Services Use: Implications of Parents’ Medicaid Status. Health Care Financing Review. 26(4), 81-94

[4] Kaiser Family Foundation, Five Basic Facts on the Uninsured, September 2009

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