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Report: More PA Kids had Health Insurance During Pandemic

by Danielle Smith, Keystone State News Connection

Dec 16, 2022

A new report says during the pandemic, more children were able to keep their health insurance in the Commonwealth.

The “State of Children’s Health” report – by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children – says the gain was small, but an important reason for it is that states were not allowed to take people off of Medicaid during the pandemic public health emergency.

This allowed many children to stay covered. Becky Ludwick, vice president of public policy with Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, said the report reflects the most recent figures from the American Community Survey.

“So, our report compares the 2019 numbers to the 2021 numbers, which are the most current numbers available,” said Ludwick. “And what we found was that the Pennsylvania rate improved slightly. It was at 4.6% and it improved to 4.4% of uninsured children.”

That equates to about 126,000 children without health insurance.

Ludwick added that Pennsylvania has the eighth-highest number of uninsured children in the country.

Ludwick said there’s a lot of work to be done to keep kids connected to health insurance when the public health emergency officially ends next year, possibly in April.

She explained that Pennsylvania will have to resume a pre-pandemic operation, and go through a redetermination process to find out who’s still eligible for Medicaid.

“There are hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania children who would be at risk of losing coverage when that unwinding occurs,” said Ludwick. “And so, what we are pointing out is that could impact one out of four Pennsylvania children enrolled in Medicaid.”

She stressed that the importance of families remaining covered, so kids will have access to regular doctor’s visits and routine development checks.

She said families can enroll in Medicaid and CHIP year-round, as there’s no cut-off period.

She also recommended that parents visit the state’s healthcare marketplace website, ‘Pennie.com,’ to check their eligibility for coverage, as the sign-up deadline is in January.

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