Compared to most states, New York is doing a good job of making sure children have health coverage, according to a new report.
The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families finds the rate of uninsured children in New York State was 2.6% percent last year.
However, that is a slight increase from 2019 – and there are concerns about keeping the numbers low.
Bridget Walsh, senior policy analyst at the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, noted that federal provisions put in place during the pandemic are still providing funding for kid’s Medicare coverage.
She said groups like hers have been working to make these more permanent.
“Advocates have been having conversations about this idea of continuous enrollment,” said Walsh. “That a child on Medicaid or Child Health Plus would stay on that enrollment, right through ’til they reach age six.”
Walsh said that’s important so, in their early years, kids have access to checkups, vaccinations and any other health services.
She added that they often lose their health coverage around the time of renewals, so anything the state can do to make the process easier will keep more kids insured.
Walsh said more kids could lose that coverage when the pandemic public health emergency is set to expire in a few months. She said there are steps states can take to keep kids insured.
“The state can look to some of the other states that have moved forward with a federal waiver,” said Walsh, “which is basically asking the federal government for permission to use Medicaid in a way that allows us to do continuous eligibility for children.”
Aside from COVID, kids in New York have been bombarded with flu season and a rise in RSV cases. So, Walsh said the more families can hold on to their health insurance, the better.
Edwin is a reporter and producer in North Tonawanda, New York. He’s previously reported for the Niagara Gazette and the Ithaca Times. Edwin got an early start in radio interning for WBFO-88.7FM, NPR’s Buffalo affiliate. In 2018, he graduated from SUNY Buffalo State College with a B.A. in Journalism, and in 2022, graduated from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Communications.