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e : enotes@lists.ctvoices.org 19 May 2007 • 3:13AM -0400

[Enotes] CT Voices' May 18 E-Notes
by Michael Sullivan

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E-Notes
Connecticut Voices for Children
May 18, 2007

In this issue of E-Notes, you'll find:

A.   RESEARCH REPORTS
*  Births to Mothers in Medicaid, by Town, 2005
*  Births to Mothers with Medicaid Coverage: 2005
*  Births to Mothers With Medicaid Coverage: Smoking During Pregnancy, 2005
*  Do Health Behaviors of Connecticut Youth Differ by Their Race and
Ethnicity? The Connecticut School Health Survey 2005: Key Findings

B.  FAMILY ECONOMIC SECURITY ISSUE BRIEFS
*  Connecticut's Children: Race and Ethnicity Matter
*  Understanding Child Poverty in the Midst of Great Wealth

C.  HEALTH ISSUE BRIEFS
*  Expanding HUSKY Coverage for Parents Will Help Working Parents and
Children Access Health Care
*  HUSKY Outreach Funding is Key to Reducing the Uninsured
*  Keep It Simple: Reduce Gaps in Children's Health Coverage
*  Births to Mothers with Medicaid Coverage: 2005
*  Ensuring Access to Care for Children and Parents in HUSKY A: Alternatives
to Managed Care


A. RESEARCH REPORTS

1. Births to Mothers in Medicaid by Town, 2005

One in three babies born in Connecticut in 2005 was born to a mother whose
care was covered by Medicaid.  Medicaid covered births in almost every
Connecticut town. In Connecticut's three largest cities, Medicaid (HUSKY A
and fee for service) covered most births in 2005, including 76 percent of
all births to Hartford residents, 61 percent of all births to New Haven
residents, and 61 percent of all births to Bridgeport residents, compared
with just 26 percent of births in all other towns. In four small cities and
large towns (New Britain, New London, Waterbury, and Windham), more than
half of all babies born in 2005 were born to mothers with Medicaid coverage.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_366.html

2.  Births to Mothers with Medicaid Coverage: 2005

This report finds that babies born to mothers in Connecticut's Medicaid
program are at risk for poor birth outcomes. Compared to all other babies in
Connecticut, rates for low birthweight, preterm, and teen births were higher
for babies born to mothers covered by HUSKY A and fee for service Medicaid
compared to all other babies born in Connecticut. Mothers in HUSKY A were
less likely than other mothers to have early and adequate prenatal care.
Among births in 2005, 15% of HUSKY A mothers smoked during pregnancy.
However, Connecticut is one of eight states that does not cover treatment
for tobacco dependence in its Medicaid program.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_363.html

3.  Births to Mothers With Medicaid Coverage: Smoking During Pregnancy, 2005

Women who smoke during pregnancy are at risk for pregnancy complications,
preterm birth, low birthweight infants, stillbirth, and infant death.  Among
births in 2005, 15 percent of HUSKY A mothers smoked during pregnancy,
compared to 7 percent of those with fee for service Medicaid coverage and 3
percent of all other mothers.  Babies born to mothers in HUSKY A who smoked
were about twice as likely to be low birthweight (15%), compared to babies
born to non-smokers (7%).  This brief recommends that Connecticut's Medicaid
program should cover effective treatments for tobacco dependence and that
HUSKY A contracts with managed care plans should specify that plans are
responsible for providing these services for pregnant women and children.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_365.html

4.  Do Health Behaviors of Connecticut Youth Differ by Their Race and
Ethnicity? The Connecticut School Health Survey 2005: Key Findings

This analysis of data from the 2005 Connecticut School Health Survey, which
we described in an earlier E-Notes, examined racial and ethnic differences
in risky behavior among youth, including alcohol and cigarette use, sexual
behavior, depression, and seat belt use. A new "Key Findings" brief
summarizes some major findings.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_344.html


B.  FAMILY ECONOMIC SECURITY ISSUE BRIEFS

1.  Connecticut's Children: Race and Ethnicity Matter

This report highlights stark contrasts among white, African-American, and
Hispanic/Latino children in Connecticut, on key indicators such as poverty,
family structure, school completion, and homeownership. For example,
compared to White, non-Hispanic children, African American and Latino
children are:

    * Seven times more likely to live in poverty,
    * Two to four times more likely to drop out of high school, and
    * More likely to lag behind in reading, math and science.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_364.html

2.  Understanding Child Poverty in the Midst of Great Wealth

This PowerPoint presentation provides some graphical means of understanding
child poverty in Connecticut. It contains regional and local maps describing
regional and local poverty rates, unemployment, check cashing services,
housing costs, wage and employment trends, and use of the federal Earned
Income Tax Credit.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_362.html


C.  HEALTH ISSUE BRIEFS

1.  Expanding HUSKY Coverage for Parents Will Help Working Parents and
Children Access Health Care

Providing HUSKY coverage to more low-income working parents is an important
step toward decreasing the number of uninsured adults and children in
Connecticut. In Connecticut, 61% of the uninsured are working adults, over
half of whom hold permanent full-time jobs. Uninsured parents are more
likely to delay care until illnesses become serious, resulting in the need
for more costly care, such as hospitalizations or emergency room use.
Increasing the income limits for parents and aligning them with the income
limits for children in HUSKY A (185% of the federal poverty level) would
help make the HUSKY program easier to understand and to administer, and
enable the state to reduce the number of uninsured working parents.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_359.html

2.  HUSKY Outreach Funding is Key to Reducing the Uninsured

Most uninsured children and many uninsured parents and pregnant women are
eligible for HUSKY health insurance, but many don't realize it. National
research has found that most parents of uninsured children (72%) who were
eligible for but not enrolled in their State Children's Health Insurance
Program (such as HUSKY) believed they would not be eligible to get coverage
for their kids. However, most also said that they would be very likely to
enroll if they knew that they were eligible. Community-based outreach is the
most effective means of enrolling eligible families and keeping them
enrolled. Connecticut can greatly reduce the number of uninsured children
and families and realize the promise of the HUSKY program by increasing its
funding for outreach, education, and application assistance.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_360.html

3.  Keep It Simple: Reduce Gaps in Children's Health Coverage

Gaps in health insurance coverage for Connecticut children increase health
care costs, as temporarily uninsured residents rely on hospitals and safety
net providers for care. Restoring "continuous eligibility" (CE) in the HUSKY
program can reduce such gaps in children's health care. CE can address the
"churning" that is common in HUSKY, as families cycle on and off the program
due to temporary changes in their income. It allows children a year of
continuous eligibility for up to one year after enrollment or renewal,
regardless of fluctuations in family income or changes in family structure.
The elimination of CE in 2003 resulted in over 7,000 children losing their
HUSKY coverage.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_225.html

4.  Ensuring Access to Care for Children and Parents in HUSKY A:
Alternatives to Managed Care

Despite some improvements in health care utilization for children in HUSKY
in the past 10 years, access to care remains problematic. Many children do
not get the preventive care they need, and many families have difficulty
making appointments with providers. Increasing the very low Medicaid
reimbursement rates for health care providers could help to attract more
providers to participate in the program.  There is a promising alternative
to care managed by for-profit entities that contract with the State of
Connecticut and are paid in advance for providing health care, whether or
not care is actually provided. This is alternative is care managed by
primary care providers.  This option is particularly promising in those
parts of the state with relatively low provider participation in the
existing managed care program.
http://www.ctkidslink.org/pub_detail_361.html


------------------------------------
Connecticut Voices for Children
33 Whitney Ave
New Haven CT 06511
(203) 498-4240
http://www.ctkidslink.org

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