Exciting news about ARKids and Medicaid

Here’s a sneak peak at an exciting trend we’ve just uncovered in recent insurance coverage data. Find out more about this when we release our annual report on child health insurance in early 2012.

In a nutshell: the number of uninsured kids in Arkansas is dropping, even as families continue to feel the effects of the recession.

As lawmakers debate the future of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), we can’t ignore their continued success supporting children’s health and parents’ pocketbooks when they need it most. The recession has hit Arkansas families hard, pushing the state’s child poverty rate over 27 percent. A bright spot for families, however, is the availability of ARKids First. In 2010, just 7.3 percent of Arkansas children under 19 were uninsured, compared to 9.4 percent at the beginning of the recession in 2008. For perspective, nearly a quarter of all our kids were uninsured in the late 1990s, before ARKids First started.

ARKids First, Medicaid and CHIP in Arkansas, have kept children covered even as employers were forced to drop coverage or lay off workers during the recession. Between September 2008 and September 2010, enrollment increased by just under 11 percent, or 40,000 children. The rate of uninsured children eligible for ARKids First (under 200 percent of the federal poverty line, $36,620 for a family of three) decreased over the same period from 12.6 percent to 8.6 percent in 2008.

Thanks to ARKids First, thousands more low-income children got the health coverage they needed during the first two years of the recession.