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Report: Number of Uninsured Arkansas Children is Rising

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Friday, October 8, 2021   

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- With the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace open-enrollment period just around the corner, advocacy groups are gearing up to get as many families covered as possible.

A new report shows the number of uninsured children in the state is on the rise, from just over 4% in 2016 to 5.6% in 2019.

Loretta Alexander, health policy director at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, which released the report, said poverty can play a role in parents and children going without health coverage.

"And we know that families in poverty have a lot of other struggles," Alexander observed. "They move a lot. Let's say if they were on Medicaid, and the Medicaid agency reaches out to them for renewal or for information or something, and they don't get the communication. They're going to have their case terminated if they don't get information back to the agency in time."

In 2019 statewide, 151,000 children were living in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Alexander pointed out Arkansas children in families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible for Medicaid coverage.

The report showed just since 2018, the number of children who may have untreated health issues because of a lack of insurance has grown by nearly 10,000.

Alexander emphasized making sure kids are able to access affordable health care is crucial for their well-being throughout childhood.

"Insurance helps mothers to get the prenatal care needed for healthier birth outcomes," Alexander outlined. "After the child is born, coverage for well-child visits is important to get the developmental screenings and assessments that children need, as well as preventive care for infants and toddlers, and preschoolers."

Open enrollment through the health-insurance marketplace runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15. Eligible Arkansans can apply for Medicaid coverage any time of the year.


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The 2021 Nevada Children's Health Report from the Children's Advocacy Alliance found that only 56 percent of uninsured kids receive regular medical attention. (Rawpixel/Adobestock)

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