Insurance gap for kids – Access to coverage limited

The percentage of poor children covered by private health insurance is dropping as more working poor parents are denied access to health benefits, a new study says.

A government program called CHIP, which provides special public health insurance for children whose parents can’t afford it, has offset the loss of private plans for kids, the Associated Press reports.

But working poor parents — who are either denied health care benefits or are unable to afford premiums — are left without access to public programs like CHIP that are geared to children.

Conducted by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, the new study conflicts with prior insurance industry-backed research that shows the percentage of youngsters covered by private plans grew slightly in recent years, AP says. 

According to government studies 11 million children and 33 million adults in the U.S. lack health benefits, AP says.

Earlier this month, Texas Gov. George W. Bush promised to give low-income families a $2,000 tax credit to help them purchase private insurance.

Vice President Al Gore would expand CHIP coverage to adults, costing the government $146 billion. 

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