Parent Mentoring Program Increases Coverage Rates For Uninsured Latino Children
Author: Glenn Flores, Hua Lin, Candy Walker, Michael Lee, Janet Currie, Rick Allgeyer, Marco Fierro, Monica Henry, Alberto Portillo, Kenneth Massey
Latinos have the highest US childhood uninsurance rate of any race/ethnicity, but little is known about effective ways to eliminate this disparity. We evaluated the effects of parent mentors—Latino parents with children covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program—on insuring Latino children in a randomized, controlled, community-based trial of 155 uninsured children conducted in the period 2011–15. Parent mentors were trained to assist families in getting insurance coverage, accessing health care, and addressing social determinants of health. We found that parent mentors were more effective than traditional methods in insuring children (95 percent versus 69 percent), achieving faster coverage and greater parental satisfaction, reducing unmet health care needs, providing children with primary care providers, and improving the quality of well-child and subspecialty care. Children in the parent-mentor group had higher quality of overall and specialty care, lower out-of-pocket spending, and higher rates of coverage two years after the end of the intervention (100 percent versus 70 percent). Parent mentors are highly effective in insuring uninsured Latino children and eliminating disparities.