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97 Percent Of Children In West Virginia Have Health Insurance Coverage

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Majority of children in West Virginia have health care coverage, according to the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families (CCF).

To get a first look at how implementing the Affordable Care Act has affected coverage rates involving children, the CCF used the American Community Survey's (ACS) data from 2014, which covered respondents from all 50 states in the U.S. as well as the District of Columbia. Aside from looking at the profile of uninsured children from last year, the ACS also examined the changes in coverage experienced by children between 2013 and 2014.

One of the CCF's key findings is that some states showed greater improvements in providing children with health insurance coverage, with West Virginia, for instance, recognized as having 97 percent of its 386,718 children covered by Medicaid, the West Virginia Children's Health Insurance Program (WVCHIP) or private insurance.

"I am incredibly proud that ... nearly every child in West Virginia has the medical care he or she needs to grow up to be happy, healthy and successful," said Karen L. Bowling, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources cabinet secretary, adding that the future of the state lies in the hands of its most precious yet vulnerable resource, the children.

Aside from West Virginia, other states with the highest number of insured children according to the CCF include: Massachusetts (98.5 percent), the District of Columbia (97.9 percent), Vermont (97.8 percent) and Hawaii (96.9 percent).

Sharon Carte, WVCHIP director, admits that the state is still facing many health-related challenges but ensuring children have health insurance coverage is a foundation on which a healthy future can be built upon.

Other key findings from the CCF include that the Affordable Care Act brought about highest drop in uninsurance rates in children, with just less than 4.4 million children in the country remaining uninsured in 2014. Around half of these children live in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, California and Texas.

Additionally, extending Medicaid coverage to accommodate more uninsured adults also led to almost double a rate of decline in uninsured children. This is highly attributable to the "welcome mat" effect, where parents signed their children up for insurance coverage as they enrolled themselves.

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