The vast majority of states managed to reduce the number of children going without health insurance during these tough economic times, according to a new report by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families.
The number of children in poverty has increased significantly, yet the number of uninsured children decreased nationally from 6.9 million in 2008 to 5.9 million in 2010. The study, which examined trends from 2008-2010, found that 34 states saw a statistically significant decrease in the rate of uninsured children.
“The progress on children’s health insurance is due to the success of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program which have continued to fill the void created by a decline in employer-based health insurance, high unemployment, and the increasing cost of private health insurance,” said Joan Alker, Co-Executive Director of the Georgetown University research center at a Capitol Hill briefing where the report was released. “This report highlights a rare piece of good news at a challenging time for children— poverty has gone up, but more kids are insured.”
Analyzing newly available data, the researchers examined the impact of Medicaid and CHIP on the lives of children in each state in greater detail. Nationally, the researchers found:
Despite the fact that 19 percent more children were living in poverty, the number of uninsured children decreased by 14 percent between 2008-2010 – a true bright spot in an otherwise challenging landscape for America’s children. In 2010, about 8 percent of children were uninsured. In contrast, adults, for whom Medicaid is not widely available, experienced an uninsurance rate of more than 21 percent in 2010.
Hispanic, Alaskan Native and American Indian children remain disproportionately uninsured and older children are less likely to be covered than younger children. Uninsured rates are higher for children living in families earning below 50 percent of the poverty line even though the vast majority of these children are eligible for Medicaid.
The full report is available from Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families at ccf.georgetown.edu/.