HARTFORD, Conn. (Jan. 2, 2019) – Connecticut outperforms many states on key measures of children’s health care access and quality, but lags behind neighboring states in the rate of uninsured children and could make policy changes to improve children’s health, according to a new report released by the Connecticut Health Foundation.
The report, by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, identifies ways to improve children’s health care coverage, access to care, and care quality. It focuses on HUSKY Health, the state’s name for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers more than 330,000 children and adolescents and is the largest single source of children’s health coverage in the state.
“The importance of children’s access to health care goes beyond their immediate health and well-being. It has implications for their ability to perform in school, to participate in the workforce as adults, and their lifelong health,” said Tricia Brooks, associate research professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy Center for Children and Families and the author of the report. “HUSKY Health is well-positioned to drive quality improvements that are proven to support a child’s healthy development and success in school and beyond.”
“Connecticut has many opportunities to make Medicaid and CHIP more efficient and effective to improve children’s outcomes,” Brooks added.
Among the report’s key findings:
- Connecticut’s uninsured rate for children ranks 12th in the nation, tied with Alabama, California, Iowa and Louisiana, and lagging behind Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. More than 24,000 children in Connecticut have no source of health coverage.
- More than half of Connecticut’s uninsured children are likely eligible for HUSKY Health.
- Between 2013 and 2015 the percentage of children enrolled in HUSKY for the entire year dropped from 86.5% to 76.6%. Because children who lose coverage due to temporary changes in family circumstances often become eligible again soon after, Connecticut could reduce the uninsured rate among children by adopting a 12-month continuous eligibility policy – something 24 other states use in Medicaid.
- HUSKY Health outperforms its counterparts in most states on key quality indicators, but the data may be not telling a complete story. Unless children are continuously enrolled for at least 12 months, their health outcomes are not captured in most performance data. Additionally, aggregated data can mask disparities that are known to exist for children of color.
- Connecticut could simplify HUSKY and potentially eliminate duplicative administrative costs by aligning benefits across the three groups within the program that serve children – HUSKY A, B, and Plus.
- There are stark disparities in the rates of infant mortality and low birth weight between white infants and black and Hispanic babies. Connecticut can improve coverage for pregnant women to ensure safe full-term deliveries and healthy newborns.
“While there is much to be proud of in the state’s commitment to children’s health, this report shows there is more work to be done,” said Patricia Baker, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “Connecticut should aspire to move from 12th to 1st in the rate of uninsured children and to improve the quality of care and health outcomes for all children. This report provides strategies that can help get us there.”
For more information, please contact Arielle Levin Becker at 860-724-1580 x 16 or firstname.lastname@example.org.