Friday, May 27, 2016

Parent mentors insure more uninsured children, improve access, eliminate disparities

Public Release: 17-Mar-2016
Parent mentors insure more uninsured children, improve access, eliminate disparities
Save thousands of dollars per child, and could save our nation billions of dollars
Medica Research Institute

Randomized trial reveals that Parent Mentors insure more children faster than traditional Medicaid/CHIP outreach, and children's access to healthcare and parental satisfaction improve, quality of well-child care is enhanced, thousands of dollars are saved per child, jobs are created, disparities are eliminated, and the intervention potentially could save our nation billions of dollars.

A new study to be published electronically in early release format on March 17, 2016, in Pediatrics finds that Parent Mentors are significantly more effective than traditional Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) methods in insuring uninsured minority children; obtaining insurance faster; renewing coverage; improving access to primary, dental, and specialty care; reducing unmet needs and out-of-pocket costs; achieving parental satisfaction and care quality; and sustaining long-term coverage. PMs also are inexpensive, costing $53/child/month, and save $6,045.22/insured child. The study, led by Medica Research Institute Distinguished Chair in Health Policy Research Glenn Flores, is the first to assess the effectiveness of Parent Mentors in insuring uninsured minority children.

Parent Mentors are a special category of community health workers who have children with particular health conditions and risks. They leverage their relevant experience, along with additional training, to assist, counsel, and support other parents of children with the same health conditions and risks, including assisting families with insurance applications, retaining coverage, medical homes, and social needs.

Six million U.S. children are uninsured, and two-thirds to three-quarters of them are Medicaid/CHIP eligible. Furthermore, racial and ethnic disparities exist in insurance coverage for U.S. children. Compared with an uninsured rate of 5 percent for white children, 12 percent of Latino, 8 percent of African-American, and 8 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander children are uninsured. Latino and African-American children comprise 57 percent of uninsured children, although constituting only 42 percent of children in the United States. Among children in low-income families, 84 percent are eligible for but not enrolled in Medicaid CHIP.


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