Children’s health insurance status related to parent’s health coverage

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A study reveals children’s health insurance status is closely aligned with that of their parents. The health care reform law would expand health insurance to an additional 32 million, many of whom are parents.

The General Accounting Office analysis found that a parent’s insurance status was almost always associated with a child’s insurance status. For example, a child was eight times more likely to have public medical coverage if a parent did, according to the GAO analysis.

The health care act requires states to expand public health care programs, which will result in changes in parental coverage under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). By 2014, states will be required to extend Medicaid eligibility to most adults under 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

In 2008, there were 7.3 million uninsured children, which included 4.7 million who were eligible for either Medicaid or CHIP but were not enrolled. In some states, like Wisconsin and New Jersey, CHIP offers coverage to parents who are not eligible to receive Medicaid. One study revealed that including parental coverage in CHIP increased the likelihood of eligible children being enrolled by 7 percent.

FAST FACT: Children with insured parents were 65 percent more likely to have seen a doctor in an office visit, while uninsured children with uninsured parents were 69 percent more likely to have visited an emergency room.

Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other government entities.

FINANCE

  • The IRS is increasing its oversight of tax preparers for the 2011 tax year. Tax preparers will be required to register and complete requirements on competency, ethics, and standards and enforcement. (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)

HEALTH CARE

  • An audit reveals that 228,000 records in Medicare Part D prescription drug program had invalid prescriber identification numbers, accounting for $20.6 million in 2007. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not been able to identify the invalid prescribers. A separate analysis of drugs most often reported in investigations showed that the department was unable to identify the top prescribers of oxycodone, Ritalin, and methadone, all of which carry a high potential for abuse. (Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General)

MISC.

  • The 911 emergency response system was built on older infrastructure of analog technology and does not support features expected by most Americans. Efforts to modernize parts of the system with digital technology have sometimes resulted in lost or dropped calls. Some improvements being considered include ways to improve connections with call centers, increasing call capacity, and increasing flexibility in call centers. (Congressional Research Service)

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