Analysis of Children's Health Insurance Patterns: Findings from the SIPP. Purpose of This Report

05/12/1999

The passage of the legislation establishing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has turned the policy spotlight on the number and characteristics of children without health insurance. In fact, many more children go without health insurance than the number who are uninsured at any one time. The research reported here was conducted to explore the dynamics of health insurance coverage among children and to tell us more about the relationship between Medicaid eligibility and insurance coverage. The unique contribution of this research is that it provides the most detailed picture yet of the dynamics of health insurance coverage among children by addressing five broad questions:

  1. How many children lack insurance?
  2. How long do children remain uninsured?
  3. What are the patterns of movement between spells with and without insurance?
  4. What are the characteristics of children by type of health insurance coverage?
  5. How many fewer uninsured children would there be if participation in Medicaid were more complete?

This report summarizes the key findings in each of these areas and interprets them against the backdrop of current policy discussions.

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