Help All Kids Stay Healthy This School Year (and Parents too!)

01 September 2015 Written by  

The start of the school year is the perfect time to connect children with health insurance coverage. Health insurance covers preventive care and check-ups, to help nip those school year colds. Insured children are less likely to miss school due to illness; and parents are less likely to miss work caring for a sick child.

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Many families may not know that health insurance programs also cover routine developmental screenings. At well-child visits, providers screen for learning disabilities or cognitive delays. These brief screenings help children meet their developmental markers, so all kids are ready to learn.

Yet too many children are not getting the care they need. Utah has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the nation. Only 78.8% of children eligible for Medicaid and CHIP insurance are enrolled, compared to the national average of 88.3%. More children are eligible and unenrolled in Utah than any other state except Nevada.

Too often, parents are unaware that their children qualify for benefits. Often this is because parents do not have insurance. About 65,000 Utahns fall into the insurance coverage gap- earning too much income to qualify for Medicaid, but earning too little to qualify for subsidized private insurance. Parents who lack health insurance are more likely to have uninsured children.

Utah lawmakers are currently working on a plan to close the insurance gap; legislators have indicated that a solution is expected in the fall. About one in three of the people who would benefit from the proposed solution are parents. This would have a profound impact on the health of children and their parents statewide. Encourage your state legislator to continue their efforts to support Utah families!

In the meantime, caregivers and educators can help eligible children enroll in insurance programs. Visit to learn more. For a safe and healthy school year, all children deserve access to care.

For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities. How can you be involved?

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex


JessieJessie Mandle, Senior Health Policy Analyst, joined the organization in 2015. Prior to joining Voices for Utah Children, Jessie was a Senior Program Planner with the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, where she focused on nutrition and Out of School Time areas. Jessie also worked as a policy researcher in Johannesburg, South Africa and oversaw a CDC grant for Multnomah County Aging and Disability Services in Portland, Oregon. Most recently, she worked with the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Cancer Action Network. Jessie has a Master's degree in Public Heath from Portland State University and a B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.