Analysis of Children's Health Insurance Patterns: Findings from the SIPP. How Does Insurance Coverage Vary among Subgroups of Children?

05/12/1999

Other research has established that uninsured children differ from insured children in terms of a variety of demographic and economic characteristics (Fronstin 1997b, Lewis et al. 1997). In our analysis, insurance coverage varied with nearly every characteristic that we examined and in ways that largely replicated earlier findings. For example, Hispanic children were more than twice as likely to be uninsured as black children, who were only marginally more likely to be uninsured than white children. Nearly three-quarters of children whose parents did not work were enrolled in Medicaid compared to about half that percentage among children whose parents were employed part-time. This latter group along with children with no parent in the household were the most likely to be uninsured, but together, they accounted for only 13 percent of all uninsured children.

While employer-sponsored insurance was the most common source of coverage, subgroups of children with comparatively low rates of employer-sponsored coverage were not necessarily more likely to be uninsured. Medicaid accounts for this situation but fills the gap more completely for some groups than others. Children in families below 50 percent of poverty, for example, have only one-fifth the employer-sponsored coverage that children between 100 and 200 percent of poverty have, but they are less likely to be uninsured. Indeed, uninsured children in families between 100 and 200 percent of poverty account for nearly 40 percent of all children without insurance, while those below 100 percent of poverty account for one-third of all children without insurance. This pattern is evidence of the need for the broad coverage that states are allowed to provide through CHIP.

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