With much of the national debate on health care focused on insurance, it is important to realize that health insurance coverage does not equal health access. An insured child may live in an area designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area, meaning there is less than one provider for every 2000 persons needing care. Such designations also highlight shortages of dentists and mental health professionals.
Oftentimes, children on Medicaid are turned away from pediatric sub-specialists because there is a waiting list. These providers often cannot afford to see Medicaid patients based on historically low reimbursement rates and allots certain appointments for Medicaid children.
Transportation is often a significant barrier for children in both rural and urban areas. An appointment is only good if the child can get to the appointment.