New data shows Ohio children with special health care needs have inadequate insurance coverage

April 04, 2017

"While staggering, these figures speak nothing of the additional family-level socioeconomic impact involved in caring for these children. Approximately 15 percent of all insured families have financial problems associated with providing health care for a child with special health care needs, and that triples to 45 percent for those without insurance coverage," said Anthony Goudie, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and lead author on the report. "Approximately one-third of all these families covered with public insurance or uninsured had one family member cut-back hours or leave the workplace altogether due to the child's health conditions."

According to survey data, publicly-insured (Medicaid) children with special health care needs in Ohio have more complex conditions than privately-insured children, and their needs extend beyond the health care system. ???There are nearly twice as many publicly-insured children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or attention deficit disorder as privately-insured (44.3 percent vs. 26.2 percent).???There are twice as many publicly-insured children with depression, anxiety or other emotional problems as privately-insured (31.8 percent vs. 15.0 percent).???A higher proportion of children with special health care needs insured through Medicaid exhibit functional difficulties due to health conditions that may extend beyond the health care sector (i.e., acting out, fighting bullying or arguing [52 percent Medicaid vs. 19 percent private], or difficulties learning, understanding, or paying attention [52 percent Medicaid vs. 33 percent private]).

"These children are very sick with expensive health care costs," said Dr. Fairbrother. "Often, diagnoses are coming late, causing undue burden on the kids, their families, health care providers and insurers, when early intervention has proven to decrease the amount and cost of care needed for them."

SOURCE Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center