Costs keep parents from getting children needed care

While healthcare reform will help to get more people on insurance plans, high premiums, deductibles and co-pays may continue to keep children out of doctors' offices, if the results of a recent Ohio-based survey are any indication. Citing rising costs as the main factor, 13 percent of parents with health insurance surveyed said they often would bypass recommended care by a pediatrician, HealthDay News reports. 

Roughly one in six parents said they had a hard time affording care for their children, while 5.5 percent of children did not see a recommended specialist. Nearly 9 percent of children did not have a prescription filled due to financial issues. 

What's more, parents in the middle-income subgroup--those whose yearly family incomes were between $15,000 and $75,000--were shown to have the hardest time paying for their children's care; lower income families had access to public insurance, while higher income families could afford better care, overall. 

The survey, which was administered between July and September of 2009, was limited to just under 2,000 parents at pediatricians' offices in Southwestern Ohio and asked parents about their healthcare habits spanning the prior 12 months.

Co-author William Spears, an associate professor in the department of community health and pediatrics at Wright State University's Boonshoft School of Medicine, said he thinks the issue of underinsurance is likely to worsen before it improves. 

However, Mark Rukavina, executive director of The Access Project, told HealthDay that he thinks reform will make Medicaid not only more robust, but also more available to those same suffering middle-class families. 

"The expansion of Medicaid will be enormously helpful," he said. "In 2014, the quality of insurance is going to be dramatically improved for most people." 

For more information:
- here's the survey's abstract
- read this HealthDay article