Children's Health Insurance Patterns: A Review of the Literature. 2. Families USA


Families USA (Families USA 1997) used 1995 and 1996 March CPS data in combination with imputation equations developed from the 1991 SIPP panel to estimate the number of children age 0 to 17 who were without health insurance in one or more months over the 2-year period from 1995 through 1996.(28) They estimated that 23.1 million children, or 33 percent of all children, were without health insurance in at least one month of the two-year period from 1995 to 1996. Families USA noted that the proportion of children with gaps in health insurance varied significantly from state to state due to differences in state economies and residents' income, the prevalence of jobs that offer employer-based coverage, the scope of public insurance programs (especially Medicaid), and the existence of other state health reforms. They found the highest proportions of uninsured children in southern and southwestern states. This supports the finding of Winterbottom et al. that the three regions with the highest proportion of uninsured children are (1) the West South Central, (2) the South Atlantic, and (3) the East South Central. According to Families USA, the following ten states had the highest percentage of children who experienced gaps in their health insurance during the period 1995 through 1996: Texas (46 percent); New Mexico (43 percent); Louisiana (43 percent); Arkansas (42 percent); Mississippi (41 percent); District of Columbia (39 percent); Alabama (38 percent); Arizona (38 percent); Nevada (37 percent); and California (37 percent). Families USA did not report confidence limits for these estimates, however, and readers are cautioned that the estimates for smaller states are not nearly as precise as those for larger states.