CSHCN: Health Insurance and Needed Services

The National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) asked the parents of CSHCN whether their child had insurance in the past 12 months and what kind of insurance they had. Health insurance included private insurance provided through an employer or union or obtained directly from an insurance company; public insurance, such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or military health care; or some other plan that pays for health services obtained from doctors, hospitals, or other health professionals.

Overall, 91.2 percent of CSHCN were reported to have been insured for all of the previous 12 months, while the remaining 8.8 percent were uninsured for all or some part of the year. At the time of the interview, almost 97 percent of CSHCN were reported to have some type of insurance: 59.1 percent had private insurance and 28.1 percent had public insurance. Another 7.4 percent of CSHCN had both private and public insurance, and 3.5 percent were uninsured at the time of the interview.

CSHCN require preventive health care and dental services and acute care when they are sick in addition to a variety of other services to manage their conditions, maintain their abilities, and promote their development. The health service needed most often by CSHCN is prescription medication: 86 percent of these children are reported to need prescription drugs. Just over half of CSHCN need the care of medical specialists, such as cardiologists or pulmonologists.

Other services needed by a smaller proportion of children include eyeglasses or vision care (33 percent of CSHCN), mental health care (25 percent), dental care other than preventive care (24 percent), and physical, occupational, or speech therapy (23 percent).

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