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Effects of Trigger Events on Changes in Children's Health Insurance Coverage

Publication Date
Apr 17, 2000

This report examines the role of "trigger events" — primarily changes in the family economic situation or family composition — in bringing about these changes in health insurance coverage. In short, we ask whether there are other changes in the family that may explain the occurrence of these changes in coverage or their timing. We examine a broad spectrum of changes in coverage rather than focusing on a small set of transitions to understand how particular changes fit into the big picture of health insurance dynamics. We focus on trigger events rather than personal characteristics that may predispose children to greater or lesser probabilities of change because of their potential to explain both the volatility of health insurance coverage for a segment of the population and the trends in aggregate coverage as well. The trigger events that we examine include changes in parents' employment status, jobs, and hours worked; changes in AFDC recipiency; large swings in family income; and changes in family headship and family size. A notable exclusion from the events that we examine is change in the availability and costs to employees of family coverage offered by employers.