Massachusetts has the highest rate of health insurance coverage in the nation.

How many times have you heard that? The Commonwealth has earned those bragging rights, of course. Nearly every year, the state ranks near or at the top among all states. In 2019, only 3 percent of its residents were uninsured, the lowest rate in the country.

And yet, those bragging rights, oddly, might make lawmakers complacent. Indeed, such impressive coverage rates sometimes mask small yet important gaps that are nonetheless urgent to fill.

Case in point: More than 30,000 children and young adults without legal status are eligible only for limited health coverage through safety net programs. A bill pending in the Legislature would expand comprehensive MassHealth coverage to all children and young adults under 21 who are eligible, regardless of their immigration status.

Currently, these young people typically have coverage with limits, such as a $200 annual cap on prescription drugs; no access to in-home care, which is important for children who have complex disabilities; no coverage of durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs and feeding tubes; no coverage of eyeglasses or other vision aids, among other limitations.

“If you are an undocumented kid, you have access to some safety net services and some preventative care — like you could go to your annual visit with a doctor and the emergency room, but there are strict caps on outpatient mental health services,” said Suzanne Curry, behavioral health policy director at Health Care for All, which is advocating for the bill.

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