More than 41,000 kids under the age of six are uninsured in the state of Ohio, and that number has been increasing over the last two years.
Although uninsured children are still taken to the hospital in an emergency, they aren't usually receiving any regular visits with doctors. These regular check-ups are meant to ensure a child is on track, and missing out on them can be an issue, according to health advocates.
"If you don't access the necessary healthcare, it could impact them for a lifetime," said Angela Robinson, outreach and enrollment manager with the Cincinnati Health Department.
Robinson said general check-ups are critical for children between birth and six years old.
"Typical immunizations, any types of development issues," she said. "Things that are maybe not happening in school."
Robinson said if kids aren't receiving this care, diseases and illnesses can more easily be spread to the general public. According to a study by Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, that issue could already be a problem.
Over the last two years, the number of uninsured children under the age of six has grown nationally. In Ohio, the number rose from 3.6% to 5% in just two years, above the national average of 4.3%.
"When you see this decline among this particular population, it's very concerning because 90% of the brain is developed in the first five years of life," said Shannon Jones, with Groundwork Ohio, a health advocacy group in Columbus.
The organization is calling on the governor's office to work on a solution; Jones said she's confident something can be done, and that the governor has been a champion of children's issues.
"We know that the investments made early on in a child's life set a foundation of future success in learning and beyond," said Jones.