NU Online News Service, July 25, 10:22 a.m. – Researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change, Washington, have published a study in Health Affairs, a leading health finance journal, looking at the reasons that many poor children still lack health insurance.

Almost all children are eligible for some kind of government-run or government-subsidized health insurance program, but managers need to do a better job of marketing their programs to parents, according to Peter Cunningham, a health system center researcher who wrote the report.

Cunningham looked at the effects of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, a federal program established by Congress in 1997, on 18,800 U.S. children living in households with incomes below 200% of the official federal poverty level.

The percentage eligible for public health coverage to 92%, from 63%, U.S. children living in households with incomes below 200% of the official federal poverty level who are eligible for public health coveragecoverage increased to 92%, from 63%, but only 50% of the eligible children enrolled in the programs, Cunningham says.

In communities where the percentage of children with health insurance is especially low, the number of children covered by private insurance decreased about as much as the number covered by public programs increased, Cunningham found.