Some without health insurance are eligible

Last week we looked at U.S. Census data regarding the number of people in America without health insurance, and we saw that a large number of people are eligible for various free insurance programs, but haven’t applied. The number may be as high as 14 million.

Today’s Wichita Eagle has a story that may illustrate such a case. A family of four — two adults, two children — earns $2,000 per month, but has no insurance.

Given these facts, it appears that at least the two children in this family are eligible for insurance coverage under HealthWave, which is the implementation of SCHIP in Kansas. This family’s income is roughly 133% of the poverty level for a family of four in Kansas, and according to a page at the HealthWave site, “Children in households with income up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level may qualify for HealthWave.”

I’ve identified one reason why maybe some in Kansas who are eligible for HealthWave haven’t applied: A web page meant to direct people to HealthWave contains at least two clickable links that look like they’d take you to page you need to visit, but they mistakenly refer to the page you’re already viewing. A little bit of proofreading of these web pages would make things a lot easier for applicants.

5 Comments

  • But HealthWave isn’t “free insurance”. It’s still taxpayer-funded. Many complaints regarding Medicare and Medicaid (HealthWave is part of Medicaid) is that they do not pay enough to providers. I am also confused as to why one would advocate putting more people on taxpayer-funded plans while also advocating against public option. Is it that *some* government insurance is fine but the rest isn’t?

  • Your comment raises some very good points, and in an attempt to keep the post brief, I didn’t address them. I’m glad you did.

    The main point I wanted to make is that while some may complain they have no insurance, they are, in fact, eligible for some plans at either no cost, or a very low cost. (That’s the cost to the insured, because as you remind us, someone pays for the cost of these plans.)

  • Unfortunately, the use of incomplete evidence doesn’t give enough detail to know how many people aren’t taking advantage of this plan that already exists. In addition, is the state capable of supporting all of those who might apply for their children? Lack of promotion of the plan could be an easy way to ensure that the funds are not fully or over utilized.

  • Thousands of dollars are going to outreach efforts to make people aware of these social health care programs, but parents do not sign their children up for the coverage. In addition, the definition of the uninsured is a moving target. Often, the undersinsured is also labeled uninsured. The Wichita Eagle article did not make it clear why the spouse is not working; the oldest son could be holding down a part-time job and the younger son can be mowing lawns. This family qualifies for Medicaid, food stamps, and section 8 housing. That was also not made clear.

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