Health plans for poor

Health plans for poor

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By Rochelle Moore Daily Times Staff Writer

Parents are finding it harder to make ends meet, as more than half of Wilson County children now receive some form of government-funded health insurance.

About 53 percent of Wilson County children, from birth to age 18, receive Medicaid or N.C. Health Choice for Children, said Ron Hunt, with the Wilson County Department of Social Services.

"What you have are working families who can’t afford insurance," Hunt said. "It’s a combination of the local economy and unaffordable health insurance."

Glen Osborne, Wilson County DSS director, recently told Smart Start board members that Wilson County has one of the highest number of children receiving Medicaid in the state.

In 2006, 10,003 of Wilson County’s 18,896 children from birth to age 18 were receiving Medicaid or N.C. Health Choice for Children.

N.C. Health Choice is a state program that provides coverage for children whose parents make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford private insurance. (more…)

"We’re dealing with a lot of families who are working but don’t have health insurance," Hunt said. "The cost of insurance is really high, especially for families."

In North Carolina, 848,380 children are receiving Medicaid and 115,000 children are receiving N.C. Health Choice. In Wilson County, 8,709 receive Medicaid while 1,294 receive N.C. Health Choice.

"The positive is that children are able to receive health care," Hunt said. "It’s crucial that they get a healthy start in life."

The number of Wilson County children enrolled in either program has continued to remain near 50 percent of the overall child population for the past several years or more, Hunt said. (more…)

About the author

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.