Analysis of Children's Health Insurance Patterns: Findings from the SIPP. What Characteristics Distinguish Uninsured Children Who Are Medicaid-Eligible?

05/12/1999

In general, uninsured children who are Medicaid-eligible resemble Medicaid participants, which supports the contention that many of these children are either in transition to Medicaid or are enrolled but have not reported their coverage. However, these two groups of people differ notably from each other in four areas:

  • Racial Composition. Uninsured Medicaid-eligible children are twice as likely to be white as black, whereas the proportions among Medicaid participants are nearly equal. Hispanic children are only slightly more represented among the uninsured Medicaid-eligibles than among Medicaid participants.
  • Family Structure. Children from two-parent families account for more than half of the Medicaid-eligible uninsured whereas they are one-third of Medicaid participants.
  • Poverty Status. Children in families between 100 and 200 percent of poverty make up one-third of the Medicaid-eligible uninsured compared to one-fourth of Medicaid participants.
  • Parents' Employment Status. Children with a parent employed full-time make up half of the Medicaid-eligible uninsured but only 30 percent of Medicaid participants. The reverse is true of children whose parents are not working.

These findings have direct implications for Medicaid outreach. For instance, the characteristics of eligible children who are less likely to participate can guide decisions about how--and where--to target the outreach and education efforts under both Medicaid and CHIP to achieve higher participation. But what accounts for the lower participation probabilities of these groups of eligible children? Further research to answer this question could significantly enhance the design of outreach programs.

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