Report: Number of Iowa children with health care coverage increases

Nearly 86 percent of children in low-income families had health care coverage in 2013

Published: January 16 2014 | 3:15 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:13 am in
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The number of Iowa children with health care coverage has increased slightly from 2011, according to an Iowa Department of Revenue report released this week.

About 90.5 percent of taxpayers claiming at least one exemption for a dependent, reported health care coverage for one or more dependents. This is up from 87.9 percent in 2011.

There was an increase in health care coverage for children in families of all income levels, and the report showed that, thanks to targeted mailing efforts, about 122 previously uncovered low-income children now have health care coverage.

Nearly 86 percent of children in low-income families had health care coverage in 2012, according to the report, up from about 82 percent in 2011.

In 2008, the Iowa General Assembly passed a bill aimed at extending health care coverage to all Iowans and expanding hawk-i eligibility, a program for low-income families who have uninsured children. The Department of Revenue began tracking coverage through income tax returns by allowing taxpayers to indicate the presence or absence of health care coverage for their dependent children.

In 2009, the first year the report was available, about 64.8 percent of low-income families reported that their children had health care coverage, 20.8 percent reported an absence of coverage and 14.3 percent did not respond.

In 2012, for those taxpayers reporting an absence of coverage for one or more dependents and meeting income guidelines, the Department of Revenue sent a notice that provided information about how to enroll children in Medicaid or hawk-i.

About 23,969 letters were mailed to these families which resulted in 106 hawk-i applications to the Department of Human Services. Of those applications, 44 were approved for hawk-i, 19 were approved for Medicaid, 3 are pending and 40 were denied.

DHS reports that its regular outreach cost per new enrollee for fiscal year 2013 was $10.62 per person compared with $72.79 per new enrollee for the tax year 2012 dependent health care tracking project.

There also were increases in the number of middle-income and high-income families who reported their children had health care coverage. Almost 90 percent of middle-income families and 95 percent of high-income families had children with coverage in 2013 compared with 87 percent and 93 percent in 2012.

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