Continuous health insurance coverage is an important measure of quality in the HUSKY Program, ensuring uninterrupted access to preventive care and treatment for acute and chronic conditions. For a variety of reasons, however, children often lose their HUSKY coverage for periods of time, with the result that eligible children may go without needed health care. This study investigated gaps in or loss of HUSKY coverage for children in 2013. Among the findings:
- Coverage continuity: Most children (86.5%) who were enrolled in January 2013 were enrolled for the entire year, without gaps in coverage. Compared with 2012, the percentage of children with gaps or loss of coverage (13.5%) did not change. Significantly more children in HUSKY A (Medicaid) were continuously enrolled than children in HUSKY B (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
- Gaps in HUSKY A and B coverage: Among children enrolled in January and December 2013, about 4 percent had a gap in coverage that averaged two to three months. It is likely that these children were eligible when they lost coverage.
- Gaps associated with age-related eligibility redetermination: As was the case in 2010 and in 2012, babies turning one and adolescents turning 18 were most likely to have experienced gaps in or loss of coverage (20.9% of babies and 23.2% of adolescents, compared with 12.5% of other children).
The report recommends that the Department of Social Services and policy makers take the following steps to ensure ongoing coverage for eligible children:
- Adopt “passive renewal” for HUSKY coverage, using eligibility information already available to state agencies;
- Ensure ongoing coverage for children with age-related eligibility redeterminations;
- Restore 12 months of continuous eligibility;
- Coordinate coverage for families that move between the HUSKY Program and commercial health insurance options available through Access Health CT, Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace; and monitor coverage continuity.