Report Finds Thousands Of Kansas Kids Lack Health Insurance

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A new report finds Kansas ranks in the bottom half of states for the number of children without health insurance.

The 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranks 16 indicators of child well-being. The 16 indicators are organized into four categories: health, economic wellbeing, education and family and community.

Each state is ranked overall and in each of the four categories. Kansas is 16th overall.

However, The Data Book shows that 60,000 Kansas children do not have health insurance, putting the state 30th in the nation on this indicator. Kansas' rank has dropped seven spots in just two years, indicating that other states have made more significant progress in reaching uninsured kids.

"Approximately 70 percent of these uninsured children qualify for HealthWave," said Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children. "As HealthWave becomes KanCare, it's essential that we not only enroll more eligible children but also maintain coverage for current beneficiaries during the transition so the problem doesn't become worse."

In education indicators, Kansas ranks 22nd for percentage of children ages 3 and 4 not enrolled in preschool (53 percent) and 10th for percentage of fourthgraders reading below proficiency (64 percent). Studies show that children who attend high-quality early learning programs are far more likely to enter kindergarten ready to learn, read at grade level by third grade and graduate from high school.

The study also found:

- 80 percent of teens are graduating from high school on time (data from 2008-09). Kansas ranks 15th in the nation on this indicator.

- 18 percent of Kansas kids are living in poverty, a 20 percent increase from 2005, when 15 percent of kids lived in poverty.

- 27 percent of Kansas kids are living in homes in which no parent has full-time, year-round employment.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book includes the latest data on child well-being for every state and the District of Columbia.

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