SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) – Local health experts are stressing the importance of preventative doctors visits and immunizations after a new study shows the Palmetto State’s number of uninsured children increased last year.
A report released from Georgetown University shows South Carolina’s number of uninsured children increased from 4.3 percent in 2016 to 5.1 percent in 2017. South Carolina joins eight other states with a significant increase between the two years.
Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Gerald Harmon with Tidelands Health said the reason parents may not enroll their children could simply be because of time. He said that could especially be the case during the holidays and people may not be aware of the availability of getting health insurance for their children.
Harmon said this could lead to children not being caught up on their vaccinations and minor illnesses could turn more serious.
"The first risk is the immunizations and vaccinations. We already know that we’ve had outbreaks of chicken pox or measles that are already on the increase for lack of insurability and hurt immunity as we describe it,” said Harmon.
Harmon said if you’re going to enroll your family in health insurance federally through the Affordable Care Act, you only have about a week and a half left to do that. The deadline is Dec. 15.
"The majority of them are already eligible to get healthcare insurance through Medicaid if their parents will simply enroll them, so it really isn’t as much the money that is in the way right now it’s the expensive time and energy and effort among the parents,” said Harmon.
The Palmetto State has about 10,000 more uninsured children than almost a year ago, according to Harmon.