MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Approximately 3 percent of Alabama's children are completely uninsured, but why? It turns out, there are several reasons.
Among the possible reasons those 3 percent may not be covered, they may be in a transition period between insurance companies after an event such as a parent's job loss. Cathy Caldwell, the Bureau of Children's Health Insurance director, said this is known as churning.
"Just because a family circumstance changes, a child may move in between insurance statuses," Caldwell said. "Maybe the parent either loses that job or changes job[s]."
She said some children may not be covered due to a parent forgetting to renew their insurance applications.
"In both Medicaid and AllKids, families are required to renew once a year," Caldwell said. "So they have to submit an application or either go online and submit information. So sometimes maybe the renewal notification doesn't find the family because they've moved."
But a final reason may escape some parents' attention. Because they're not eligible for other government benefits due to their income level, parents may assume they're not eligible for covering their kids under AllKids, also known as CHIP, or the Children's Health Insurance Program. That may not be the case.
"That is probably the biggest barrier," Caldwell said.
Many parents just do not know they qualify.
"Families are eligible for AllKids who aren't typically eligible for publicly funded programs," she said.
AllKids is a low-cost, comprehensive healthcare coverage program for children under age 19. The program accepts children in families that make 317 percent above the federal poverty line.
This means children in a family of four making between $52,210 and $79,568 can qualify.
You can visit the Alabama Department of Public Health website to see who can qualify.