Arkansas has made major gains improving children’s access to health coverage, according to the annual Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. With only six percent of children in the state uninsured, we are just below the national rate. We have greatly reduced the number of children without coverage because of the ARKids first program. The all-time low in recent years is a result of important investments in outreach. AACF was one of several partners that made a commitment to getting eligible children enrolled after the program was created in 1997.
The ARKids first program has been a steady source of comprehensive coverage that families can afford. These numbers have remained low over the past several years despite slower progress addressing high rates of poverty in the state. This means that even during tough economic times, children have been protected from losses in health care coverage. Arkansas has been so successful at enrolling eligible children in coverage that this figure may not continue to drop dramatically. However, it will be important to protect the coverage gains for children in the state moving forward.