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High-Income Parents Face Coverage Gaps

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Lack of health coverage can be a problem for children in relatively high-income U.S. families as well as children in low-income U.S. families.

Sara Collins and other researchers at the Commonwealth Fund, New York, have published data on children in high-income families with no health coverage, or public program health coverage, in an analysis of the difficulties low-income families face with buying health insurance.

The researchers based their paper on results from a survey of 2134 U.S. adults ages 19 to 64.

The researchers found that children in the highest income families were much less likely to suffer uninsurance than other children.

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But 3% of adults with incomes over 400% of the federal poverty level, or about $89,400 for a family of 4, said their children had been uninsured for 2 years or more, than 12% said their children had been uninsured at some point during the past year.

When the researchers looked at adults with incomes between 250% and 399% of the federal poverty level, they found that 7% had children currently enrolled in Medicaid or a Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plan, and 2% had a child who’d been enrolled in Medicaid in the past 2 years.

In 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) is set to require many individuals to own health coverage and many employers to provide coverage. The government will provide health insurance purchase subsidies for people with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level, but none for people with higher incomes.

The government does plan to set an out-of-pocket health care spending limit of $11,900 for a family of 4 with an income equal to or greater than 400% of the federal poverty level, the researchers note. But the government has no plans to limit the price of coverage for those high-income families.