Health coverage is one of the most important resources that children need to thrive and grow into healthy adults. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) ensure that nearly half of Arkansas children — over 400,000 — have access to health care coverage. The important investments made in children’s coverage, at both the federal and state levels, have made this possible. The Medicaid program has been a cornerstone of the children’s health care system for over 50 years. Building on the foundation of Medicaid, CHIP helps working families who are unable to afford health care to obtain a comprehensive, consistent source of coverage for their children. These coverage programs are designed with kids in mind – with an eye toward preventive care and treatment.
One of the most important factors about children’s Medicaid is that it provides for regular, comprehensive screenings that are designed to catch health conditions and get them treated early. These benefits allow children to have important access to early childhood screenings and follow-up treatment, as needed. Because early screenings are so important, the Medicaid program requires them as covered benefits for all children. Even when a child is screened in another setting, like an early education center or pre-K program, they may require follow-up treatment through the Medicaid program. This is what’s best for kids, but it’s also the best way to operate a quality and efficient health care system.
Our latest report describes recent work to expand access to childhood screenings in Arkansas and our state’s early childhood intervention system. It examines important barriers that we need to fix, as well as opportunities in the Medicaid program to improve access.
Download and read the full report here.