CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada is making major progress reducing the ranks of the uninsured – with one of the sharpest drops in the nation – 13 percentage points for women age 18 to 44, from 2013 to 2017 – according to a new report.
Hear an audio report from Suzanne Potter.
The study co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families credits the state’s expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Report co-author and center Executive Director Joan Alker says the expansion of coverage for mothers has major benefits for their children.
“Things like maternal-depression screening and treatment, treatment for substance-use disorders, smoking cessation – all of those are benefits that Medicaid can and does cover,” says Alker. “So, those are likely to have really positive, two-generational impacts.”
The report also recommends that mothers have access to continuous coverage before the birth and for 12 months afterward.
Some states have moved to ensure that parents with a temporary bump in pay from a seasonal job don’t lose Medicaid eligibility. Nevada hasn’t done that yet, but the state Senate health committee just passed SB 198 – which would ensure 12 month continuous coverage for children on Medicaid.
Emma Rodriguez, children’s health policy manager with the Children’s Advocacy Alliance in Nevada, says the improvement is significant but there’s still work to do.
“Nevada’s uninsured rate for women of childbearing age is still much higher than the national average,” says Rodriguez. “We went from 29% down to 15.8%. However, the national average is 12.3%, so we still have a ways to go to improve.”
Rodriguez says in the future she’d like to see Nevada start doing automatic renewals on Medicaid if publicly available income data shows the person remains eligible. Currently people are required to resubmit forms every year.