New study shows healthcare in families is inter-related: kids receive recommended care when parents are insured

A recent article in Managed Healthcare Executive Magazine highlights a new study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that finds parental Medicaid enrollment is linked to an increase in pediatric well-child visits for children in low-income families. The study, published in Pediatrics, found that a parent being enrolled in Medicaid was associated with a 29 percentage point higher probability that low-income children received an annual well-child visit, compared to a child whose parent was not enrolled in Medicaid.

The authors consider several reasons why this may occur, including:

  • when parents receive Medicaid, their children may also be more likely to enroll in the program;
  • parental insurance coverage could result in improvement in family financial status, which can enable children’s healthcare use; and
  • when parents are able to enroll in insurance and engage with the health system for themselves, they may be more likely to engage in care-seeking for their children.

Regardless of the reasons, researchers suggest that efforts to expand Medicaid or other insurance eligibility for low-income parents could help promote the child’s receipt of critical, recommended preventative health care services.

“Healthcare use in families is inter-related, and policies and programs that consider the family as a whole may be more beneficial than those that target either children or their parents independently,” says lead study author Maya Venkataramani, MD.

Advocacy & Communication Solutions (ACS) has assisted recently helped several clients develop and/or implement strategy to increase awareness about important early childhood services. This includes mapping the landscape of health care advocacy efforts in New York for the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, increasing awareness of pre-natal health care for mothers in Franklin County, Ohio, or developing language to support a Two-Generational approach in Detroit, Michigan.

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