• Issue Brief
  • February 14, 2019

Kids Rely on Medicaid

Medicaid helps our kids lead better lives — it's a smart investment in the nation's future

Medicaid is a lifeline — it covers kids in every state, from every background. It provides affordable coverage to children in lower-income families and to kids with special health care needs. This federal-state partnership is the largest source of children's health care coverage in the U.S.

Medicaid was designed with kids in mind

Medicaid provides children access to a comprehensive set of services through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit. This benefit ensures Medicaid covers the preventive services all kids need — things like immunizations, well-child checkups, and vision and dental services. What's more, one in three children in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have behavioral health needs that can be treated earlier in part thanks to EPSDT. Medicaid also covers medically necessary care, so children can see a pediatric specialist or get the therapy they need.

Medicaid steps up for kids when they need it most

Most of our nation's sickest children get coverage through Medicaid. For kids born with or who develop serious medical conditions, Medicaid provides coverage or fills coverage gaps for services not covered by private insurance. No one plans for kids to get sick, but thankfully Medicaid is a safety net for all our children.

Medicaid helps our kids reach their full potential

Medicaid helps kids grow into healthy and productive adults. Compared to uninsured children, those covered by Medicaid are more likely to have better health outcomes as adults, with higher school attendance and academic achievement. This leads to greater resiliency and success in careers and life.

Kids with Medicaid rely on children's hospitals

Children's hospitals are at the core of the health care delivery system for children, bringing together teams of specialists to provide care not available in any other setting. Since they serve children from many states, children's hospitals must coordinate with multiple state Medicaid programs.

Medicaid is vital for kids' health

Medicaid funding ensures children's hospitals are able to be there for all children. On average, Medicaid reimburses children's hospitals only 80 percent of the cost of care provided — even including all supplemental payments. Although there is room for improvement, continued investment in Medicaid is critical to children's health and our nation's future.