Kentucky study highlights harms from disruptions in children’s Medicaid coverage
PAS Meeting Updates
SAN FRANCISCO – New research being presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies
Meeting suggest that when children lose state Medicaid coverage even for a short time,
they are likely to go without needed health care, or to receive care in resource-intensive
setting such as emergency departments rather than less expensive primary care offices.
“With the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid coverage
to many low-income Americans, it’s important to gauge the impact it might have on
low-income children and on associated social costs,” said lead author John Myers,
Ph.D., M.S.P.H., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Louisville School
The research team examined Kentucky Medicaid records from 2014 to evaluate the impact
on children’s healthcare when they lost coverage in the program for at least 45 days.
Reasons for coverage loss weren’t identified, but may have been due to loss of eligibility,
for example, or transitions between public and private coverage. They found that a
total of 37,118 (24%) of children enrolled in Kentucky Medicaid lost coverage in 2014.
Adjusting for demographic factors such as socio-economic status, the researchers compared
children who were continuously insured during the year with those who’d had disrupted
coverage. They found that those with disruption in coverage were more than three times
more likely to have visited an emergency department and nearly 5 times more likely
to have an unmet health care need.
“Gaps in health insurance coverage is a reality for many low-income children,” Dr.
Myers said. “A better understanding of the downstream effects of these disruptions
on the health of children who experience them is needed, especially since our results
suggest they may lead to unmet health needs and sicker children, along with costlier
care when it is provided.”
The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting brings together thousands of individuals
united by a common mission: to improve child health and well-being worldwide. This
international gathering includes pediatric researchers, leaders in academic pediatrics,
experts in child health, and practitioners. The PAS Meeting is produced through a
partnership of four organizations leading the advancement of pediatric research and
child advocacy: Academic Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American
Pediatric Society, and Society for Pediatric Research. For more information, visit
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