Many Parents Can't Afford Child's Co-pays

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 6 (UPI) — One in eight parents say their child was deprived of a drug, a test or a visit to a specialist due to insufficient insurance coverage, U.S. researchers say.

Children are considered underinsured if they do not receive medication or a test, or see a specialist recommended by a doctor in the previous 12 months because their parents cannot afford the co-pays and deductibles of their child’s health insurance.

Dr. John M. Pascoe and colleagues asked 1,978 southwest Ohio parents how they were able to follow their child’s doctor’s recommendations using their children’s health insurance.

Forty-two percent of parents with underinsured children say they agreed with the statement their “child’s health had suffered because of not being able to afford the cost of the needed care.” Less than 2 percent of parents who were not underinsured said that.

Children who had poorer health or lived in households with incomes between $15,000 and $34,999 were at greater risk for underinsurance than children who were healthier or from wealthier families — households earning more than $75,000 annually.

After factoring for annual family income and health status, children with private insurance were about twice as likely as children with public insurance to be underinsured, Pascoe says.

The findings were presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco.

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