Medicaid: A Vital Resource for Nearly 3 Million Military-Connected Children

Medicaid: A Vital Resource for Nearly 3 Million Military-Connected Children

Military-connected families and their children face stressors which impact their overall health and well-being, as well as their access to care.
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A new report from Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) underscores Medicaid’s significance in enabling health care access for nearly 3 million children in military-connected families. The report also highlights how children’s hospitals are a crucial resource for military and veteran families.

“Military-connected families and their children make tremendous sacrifices for our country and deserve the highest quality care,” said Matthew Cook, CEO of CHA. “Children in military and veteran families often have highly specialized health care needs that children’s hospitals are equipped, and honored, to treat. Whether we are providing care in a hospital setting or supporting military physicians who work on installations to recognize and treat pediatric patients, our member hospitals are committed to providing access and care whenever it is needed.”

Military-connected families and their children face certain stressors—deployment, reintegration, frequent relocation, among others—which impact their overall health and well-being, as well as their access to care. As a result, these families have highly specialized health care needs that children’s hospitals are uniquely equipped to treat.

The report also details coverage gaps in TRICARE, the health plan for military-connected families funded by the Department of Defense, which is structured after Medicare.

CHA’s report shows:

  • Three million infants, children and adolescents in military-connected families are eligible for, or covered by, Medicaid. However, approximately 800,000 eligible children are not currently enrolled in the program.
  • TRICARE contains gaps and often falls short of meeting children’s physical and mental health needs. Medicaid covers mental and behavioral health services under the early and periodic screening, diagnostic and treatment benefit.
  • Up to 50% of military-connected children receive care in the civilian sector, including through children’s hospitals. To help enhance and streamline care, children’s hospitals actively partner with local installations, among other measures, to include military physicians in their pediatric training rotations.

“Congress must protect and strengthen Medicaid to continue providing these children and their families with access to care and ensure consistent coverage. Increased investment in Medicaid is one way we can support and thank those serving our nation,” added Cook.

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Children’s Hospital Association is the national voice of more than 220 children’s hospitals, advancing child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care.