A new report on the number of children enrolled in the state’s health insurance program for children found fewer are experiencing interruptions or loss in coverage.
The report compiled by Connecticut Voices for Children found that between 2010 and 2012 the number of children enrolled in the Husky program who experienced a gap or loss in coverage decreased from 17.9 percent to 13.5 percent.
Most children or 86.5 percent were enrolled for the entire year in 2012, without gaps in coverage, according to the report.
Connecticut Voices for Children has been an advocate of the program, which provides health insurance coverage for low-income families and children.
The report also found that children on Husky B, which serves moderate-income children, were more likely to have lost coverage during the year. Among those children enrolled in Husky B 28.6 percent lost coverage for a month or more compared to 12. 8 percent of lower income children on Husky A.
But the share of children on Husky B who had gaps in or lost coverage improved substantially over a two year period dropping from 55.6 percent to 28.6 percent.
Mary Alice Lee, a senior policy fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children, who authored the report said eliminating the gaps in coverage is a “fundamental issue of quality” in the program.
“The bottom line is if those kids are not in the program and they go in and out, eligible children, then they aren’t getting access to all of what we’ve built to serve them,” Lee told the Medicaid Advisory Council Friday.
Coverage interruptions are costly for families who seek care when they are uninsured, for providers who see their patients even when coverage has lapsed, and for Connecticut, if publicly-funded health care costs are higher after gaps in coverage, the report states.
Husky coverage is renewed on an annual basis, but the process by which it’s renewed has changed over the past year, and advocates have complained that their clients lost coverage when they’re still qualified.
The Department of Social Services is modernizing its benefit eligibility system and there have admittedly been some glitches along the way.
DSS has said it’s addressing the issues raised by clients and advocates. The new modern system was installed in July and benefits were extended for everyone already receiving them in through the end of September as the department worked on some of the problems.
Lee said it will be crucial to continue monitoring coverage for this population as the new DSS system is completed in late 2015.
“Monitoring coverage continuity at the client-level across publicly-funded and publicly-subsidized health insurance options is key for identifying problems and designing strategies to improve coverage coordination,” the report states.