Adequacy of Health Insurance
While most children had current health insurance coverage at the time of the survey, insurance coverage may not always be adequate to meet their needs. Parents whose children were currently insured were asked three questions regarding the services and costs associated with their child’s health insurance: whether the out-of-pocket costs were reasonable, whether the plan offers benefits or covers services that meet their child’s needs, and whether the plan allowed them to see the health care providers they need. Children were considered to have inadequate health insurance coverage if their parents did not answer “usually” or “always” to all of the three questions. Overall, 23.5 percent of children had inadequate insurance; this percentage did not vary significantly by location.
Across locations, older children were more likely to have inadequate insurance. At least one-quarter of children aged 12-17 had insurance that did not usually or always meet their needs, and this proportion was as high as 30.1 percent in small rural areas. Fewer than 20 percent of children aged 0-5 had inadequate insurance in all locations, with the highest percentage (19.6 percent) found among urban children.
Children with special health care needs were more likely to have inadequate insurance in all locations as well. Among children with special health care needs, the percentage whose insurance was not adequate to meet their needs ranged from 26.7 percent in large rural areas to 29.8 percent in urban areas, a higher percentage than that found in children without special health care needs (21.0 percent in large rural areaas to 22.3 percent in urban areas.)