Many uninsured kids have parents with insurance

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 2 million children in the United States who have no health insurance of any kind have at least one parent who gets employer-provided medical coverage, researchers said on Tuesday.

These parents typically get insurance through work that covers them but cannot afford the extra thousands of dollars that may be needed for a plan that also covers their children, the researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“I think there’s been a myth that all uninsured children have uninsured parents, and so if we cover the parents we can cover the kids,” Dr. Jennifer DeVoe of Oregon Health & Science University, who led the study, said in an interview.

“In most cases the parents have insurance through work at reduced rate or no cost, but adding their family is unaffordable,” DeVoe added.

The Census Bureau said in August 8.1 million, or 11 percent, of children under 18 had no health insurance in 2007.

The researchers calculated that about 28 percent of these uninsured children — or about 2.3 million — had at least one parent with health insurance. Most are from low- or middle-income families, DeVoe said.

The high cost of health care and medical insurance and the large numbers of Americans who remain uninsured have been key issues in the U.S. presidential campaign this year.

The study found that children of single parents and children in Hispanic families were more likely than others to lack health insurance even if a parent is covered. It was also more likely in the South and West.  Continued…

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