The Link between School Performance and Health Insurance: Current Research.Report as inadecuate

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This paper reviews published articles related to the link between health insurance and academic performance. Although no studies directly examine whether enrollment in a health insurance program impacts school attendance and achievement, several studies have reached intermediate conclusions. Studies show that students who miss more than 10 days per semester have difficulty staying on grade level, and absenteeism due to chronic illness relates to even lower school achievement than the general high absence population. Teachers in urban areas report that 18% of students have health problems that significantly affect their ability to learn. Researchers have found that racial differences in health care access and use is due in part to lack of health insurance, and that for African-American and Latino youth insurance had more impact on doctor visits than income. Health insurance coverage relates to improved access to health services and improved health. Multiple barriers faced by many disadvantaged families in terms of health affect their children's school performance. Data from the California Healthy Start Initiative, a school-based/school-linked services collaborative, further supports the link between health insurance and good health. Evaluation of data from 76 participants shows positive results when the Initiative helps families get regular sources of health care. Attached are lists of references for future studies, for nutrition and school performance, for chronic illnesses and school performance, and for school health clinics, health, and school performance. (Contains 63 references and 26 footnotes.) (SM)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Access to Health Care, Child Health, Child Welfare, Elementary Secondary Education, Health Insurance, Minority Group Children, Poverty, Racial Differences

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Author: Schwarz, Carolyn; Lui, Earl


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