Analysis of Children's Health Insurance Patterns: Findings from the SIPP. What Follows Spells without Insurance?

05/12/1999

Of the more than 9 million children who were uninsured in any one month, about 8 percent, or 750,000 children on average, became insured in the next month, and another 60,000 simply aged out of the population of children (turned 19) or left the SIPP universe. Medicaid had a disproportionate impact on these transitions. Of the children who became insured each month, 41 percent enrolled in Medicaid, 52 percent obtained coverage from their parents' employers, and 7 percent gained coverage from another type of plan. Thus, while Medicaid was reported to insure only 19 percent of all children under 19 at any one time in 1993 or 1994, it accounted for 41 percent of the uninsured children who gained coverage. This suggests that the number of uninsured children will be particularly sensitive to changes in Medicaid enrollment patterns. Indeed, the decline in the Medicaid caseload that followed the introduction of welfare reform appeared to produce a full percentage-point increase in the proportion of children who were without health insurance, as measured in the CPS (Fronstin, 1997b).

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