ANN ARBOR, Mich.-Trouble paying health plan premiums and difficulty affording out-of-pocket expenses for medications aren't just problems of the uninsured anymore. They're also concerns for families with private insurance, according to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.
"Often times, the federal government focuses on kids who don't have any coverage at all, and they are certainly in very vulnerable circumstances. But we wondered whether children with private insurance are also vulnerable," says Matthew Davis, M.D., director of the National Poll on Children's Health. "We found that over two-thirds [69 percent] of parents are concerned about out-of-pocket health care costs, and about two-thirds [64 and 63 percent] are concerned about the premium costs and deductibles of their health plans."
While these concerns were found among parents across all demographic groups, parents in the middle income bracket making $30,000 to $59,999 per year showed the greatest concern.
"Parents in this group make enough money to afford private insurance but not enough to comfortably cover the additional costs of that insurance," Davis says.
Seventy-nine percent of these parents were concerned about the out of pocket costs; 74 percent were concerned about the costs of the deductible; and 73 percent were concerned about premiums.
The poll also finds among parents of all demographic groups:
- 32 percent are concerned their private health insurance does not cover the costs of all the care their child needs.
- 20 percent are concerned their private health insurance does not cover their children's medicines.
"Over the next few months, as the economic crisis is expected to worsen, we're likely to see stress among privately insured families continue to increase. That may spell trouble for kids in terms of getting care in a timely way and for health care institutions that depend on people seeking care to stay in business," Davis says. "The federal government and perhaps state governments need to step in to ensure that individuals with private insurance - especially kids - don't fall behind in their care at this time."
Methodology: For its report, the National Poll on Children's Health used data from a national online survey conducted in January 2009 in collaboration with Knowledge Networks, Inc. The survey was administered to a random sample of 2,132 adults, ages 18 and older, who are a part of Knowledge Network's online KnowledgePanel® For this analysis, a subset of parents was used (n=1,552). The sample was subsequently weighted to reflect population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. About three-fourths of the sample included households with children. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 to 6 percentage points, depending on the question. .
Purpose/Funding: The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health - funded by the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases and part of the CHEAR Unit at the U-M Health System - is designed to measure major health care issues and trends for U.S. children.