Missouri Leads Nation In Rising Numbers Of Uninsured Children

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Missouri Leads Nation In Rising Numbers Of Uninsured Children

Missouri had the highest increase in the rate of uninsured children in the nation over the two-year period that ended in 2018, according to a study from Georgetown University. 

In 2018, 5.3% of Missouri children under age 6 were uninsured, up from 3.6% two years earlier. Nationwide, uninsured rates in that age group rose to more than 4%.

Not having health coverage could have severe consequences for young children, pediatricians said. Without health insurance, kids miss doctor’s appointments that can identify health problems and provide preventative care such as vaccinations.

“That’s thousands of kids who are unable to get needed medical care, both for routine checkups and for chronic conditions and diabetes,” said Ken Haller, a pediatrician at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. “These kids will end up sicker, they’ll end up in the hospital, they’ll end up in emergency rooms.”

In 2018, more than 23,000 of the state’s young children went without health insurance.

Read more from St. Louis Public Radio.