How Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program can do a better job of insuring uninsured children: The perspectives of parents of uninsured Latino children

Glenn Flores, Milagros Abreu, Vanessa Brown, Sandra C. Tomany-Korman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. - Eight and a half million US children are uninsured, despite the 1997 enactment of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) with $39 billion in funding, and Latinos continue to be the most uninsured racial/ethnic group, with 24% (3 million) uninsured. Why SCHIP and Medicaid have not been more successful insuring uninsured children is unclear. Objective. - To identify reasons why parents are unable to insure uninsured Latino children in a state where all low-income children are eligible for insurance. Methods. - Bilingual focus groups of parents of uninsured Latino children from Boston communities with the highest proportion of uninsured Latino children. Results. - The 30 parents interviewed in 6 focus groups had a mean age of 39 years; 63% never graduated high school and 33% were US citizens. The mean age of their children was 12 years, and the median annual family income was $9120. Parents reported 52 barriers to insuring children. Major obstacles included lack of knowledge about the application process and eligibility (especially misconceptions about work, welfare, and immigration), language barriers, immigration issues, income, hassles, pending decisions, family mobility, misinformation from insurance representatives (being told insurance is too expensive and parents must work), and system problems (including lost applications, discrimination, and excessive waits). Parents universally agreed case managers would be helpful in insuring uninsured children. Conclusions. - Even in a state where all low-income children are eligible for health insurance, current SCHIP and Medicaid outreach and enrollment are not effectively reaching uninsured Latino children. Parents need better information about programs, eligibility, and the application process, and a more efficient, user-friendly system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-340
Number of pages9
JournalAmbulatory Pediatrics
Volume5
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

Keywords

  • Children
  • Focus groups
  • Health services research
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Pediatrics
  • Uninsured

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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