A health advocacy group’s study finds tens of thousands of Iowa children have no health care coverage, even though most are eligible for low-cost or free insurance through the state. Dr. John Lumpkin is senior vice president and director of The Health Care Group at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Lumpkin says "There are nine-million children who are uninsured in the nation, and in Iowa, there are 50,000 kids who are uninsured. What’s really important about this is that many of these children are eligible for low-cost or free health care coverage through the state children’s health insurance program." He says the foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans.

Lumpkin says the problem in Iowa may just be educating people about the availability of the program. Lumpkin says "Iowa has a higher rate of uninsured kids than the national average. Many of the children who are eligible for the state children’s health insurance could be signing up, even though they are currently uninsured." For Iowa families where money is already a concern, he says parents who can’t afford to insure their children may not consider the state’s health insurance program because they’re unfamiliar with the offerings.

Lumpkin says it may not cost anything, or very little, to sign the child up and get them covered. Lumpkin says "It varies from state to state and it varies based upon income but children of families that earn as much as 40 or 50-thousand dollars may be eligible for this low-cost or free health care coverage." He says the federal program SCHIP, which stands for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, insures six-million children nationwide. For more information, call toll-free 877-Kids-Now or visit the Insure Kids Now website.