Ensuring the youngest kids get continuous Health Care coverage

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

In the EMS briefing on April 5, 2024, experts emphasized the importance of ensuring children ages 0-5 get and are able to keep their health coverage, how gaps in coverage and issues with Medicaid renewals affect families, and the potential impact of both nationwide. The experts discussed the threat to continuous coverage of Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, for children ages zero to five; the national impact of reinstating annual Medicaid eligibility reviews; and the potential impact of coverage gaps for children’s health.

Mayra E. Alvarez, President, The Children’s Partnership said 5.2 million Californian children over half of the state’s 9 million children had Medi-Cal or CHIP as of October 2023, and three-fourths of these were children of color. Since redetermination began, over a million Californians of all ages have lost coverage, including 284,000 children. Health during those first few years of life, when 90% of brain development occurs, requires frequent and timely visits and screenings.

Joan Alker
Joan Alker

Joan Alker, Executive Director, Georgetown Center for Children and Families said we are about to hit 5 million fewer children on Medicaid nationwide. In 2023, we had 4 million total uninsured children nationwide. Even if half of these children are becoming uninsured for procedural reasons, this is a national crisis. Oregon, Washington and New Mexico are now implementing a Section 1115 waiver from the federal government to cover children from birth to age six. Eight other states, and the District of Columbia, are also pursuing this. California was earlier to pass continuous coverage, but hasn’t implemented it.

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