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President Biden Tests Positive for Covid; Report: SD ethanol plants release hazardous air pollutants; Report: CA giant sequoia groves in peril after megafires.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

KY keeps most kids enrolled in Medicaid coverage, post-pandemic

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Wednesday, May 8, 2024   

Nationwide, children are losing their Medicaid and CHIP coverage but Kentucky has kept the majority of its youngest residents enrolled, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Emily Beauregard, executive director of Kentucky Voices for Health, said the main reason for the high retention rate is the state has not yet started child renewals. State officials told the federal government they needed more time to begin the process of reauthorizing people on Medicaid after the pandemic.

"Kids have maintained their coverage because Kentucky made the right decision in asking CMS for more time, and it's really been paying off for us," Beauregard asserted.

Medicaid and CHIP income eligibility is set at a higher level for children than parents, so many of the children who lost coverage likely still meet income eligibility guidelines, even if their parents no longer qualify. Beauregard said the around 10,000 Kentucky children who are no longer enrolled likely turned 19 and aged out of eligibility, or are now covered through their parents' employer-sponsored plan.

Kentucky covers children through Medicaid and K-CHIP for one year continuously, but Beauregard hopes the state will expand uninterrupted coverage for very young children.

"We think it should be three years," Beauregard contended. "From zero to three, kids need continuous coverage without any interruption. And we've seen this policy being adopted in other states, and we think it's something that Kentucky needs to adopt."

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and co-author of the report, said multiyear continuous coverage is a critical resource for families during early childhood, when frequent visits to the doctor are required.

"A significant number of states are making a shift in their policy to offer continuous coverage for young children, in most cases, from birth to age 6, in a few cases to age 3 or 5," Alker explained. "This is a really terrific breakthrough."

Research shows children in families of color, particularly Black and Latino families, have been more likely to experience gaps in health coverage.

Disclosure: The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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