Back to school with asthma

For the 235,000 children living with asthma in Pennsylvania, including an estimated six million with asthma in the U.S., gearing up for another school year involves much more than picking out a new pencil case and backpack.

Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15 and one of the main reasons that students miss school due to illness, with almost 13 million lost school days every year.

Half of all children with asthma in the U.S. get their health coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Comprehensive asthma treatment and service coverage mean that these children would be able to control their attacks at school.

However, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program imposes barriers to asthma care — such as prior authorization for asthma medications and step therapy. Pennsylvania should work to increase coverage of, and remove, barriers to asthma care.

By having comprehensive health care for asthma management, children can feel healthy, safe and ready to learn.

Learn more about Medicaid coverage of asthma care in Pennsylvania by visiting the American Lung Association’s Asthma Care Coverage Project website

Jennifer Hobbs Folkenroth

American Lung Association