ARKids First has been hugely successful in providing health coverage for kids in Arkansas, despite growing child poverty rates. While the number of children living in poverty has increased to almost 30 percent since 2008, the percentage of children without health coverage has remained very low. This news comes as lawmakers meet to discuss possible changes to health coverage for Arkansans.
The percentage of kids without health coverage stands at six and a half percent. When ARKids began in 1997, nearly a quarter of children were uninsured. The Affordable Care Act provided Arkansas a new opportunity to offer affordable, comprehensive health coverage to entire families. Because of the surge in enrollment, more uninsured children gained coverage through Medicaid, ARKids First, and the Marketplace when their caregivers enrolled. Over 32,000 children enrolled in coverage as a result.