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Public vs. private healthcare for children

Posted On Fri, August 5, 2011

Children with private health insurance are 22 percent more likely to receive comprehensive care than those with public insurance, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan Medical School.

"While we need to continue to assure adequate access to primary care for publicly-insured children, we also need to pay attention to the care they receive once they're in the door," said Dr. Joseph S. Zickafoose, clinical lecturer in pediatrics and communicable diseases at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Five criteria of children receiving medical care were examined in the study, including access to family-centered care, usual source of care, difficulty of receiving referrals, communication between care providers and familiarity with a personal doctor or nurse. The study found that 45 percent of children with public health insurance satisfactorily met these components, compared to the 67 percent of those with private insurance.

Approximately one-third of American children are covered by public health insurance, many of whom come from minority groups or impoverished families.

Finding affordable health insurance quotes is often the biggest obstacle inhibiting families from purchasing private coverage. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the number of people with private health insurance fell from 201 million in 2008 to 194.5 million in 2009.

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