This report on the enrollment of children in the state’s HUSKY health insurance program finds that fewer children are experiencing interruptions in or loss of their health care coverage.
Families with HUSKY health coverage must renew their coverage through a re-application process at least once per year, and previous national and state evidence has shown that many children lose their coverage during this renewal process, even though they remain eligible. This often occurs because of confusion about eligibility rules or problems with processing paperwork. This improvement in continuity and stability of health care coverage for children is likely a result of successful efforts to raise awareness about common problems with renewing coverage and to improve state agency practices.
Among the findings of the report:
- Between 2010 and 2012, the share of children enrolled in HUSKY who experienced gaps in or loss of health care coverage over the course of a year decreased from 17.9% to 13.5%.
- Infants and older adolescents were most likely to have experienced gaps in or loss of coverage. For these children, their age alone automatically triggers a review of their eligibility for HUSKY, and many children in these age groups lose coverage at the time of renewal. However, even among these higher-risk age groups, there were improvements in the continuity of their health coverage between 2010 and 2012.
- Children in the HUSKY B program, which serves moderate-income children whose families are over-income for HUSKY A, were more likely to have lost coverage during the year. The share of children in HUSKY B who had gaps in or lost coverage improved substantially between 2010 and 2012.
To avoid gaps in and loss of coverage in HUSKY state policy makers and the Department of Social Services should:
- Continue collaborative, state and community-based efforts to keep eligible families enrolled in HUSKY.
- Adopt “continuous eligibility” for children and parents, a policy change that would enable families to maintain uninterrupted HUSKY coverage for one year once their eligibility is approved and avoid the need for more paperwork during that period.