Children's Health Insurance Patterns: A Review of the Literature. 4. Other SIPP Estimates of the Uninsured

12/19/1997

As one might expect, as the reference period for SIPP estimates of the uninsured lengthens, the percent uninsured throughout decreases while the percent uninsured in at least one month increases. Estimates of uninsured children in 1993 versus the 32-month period from early 1991 through mid-1993 illustrate this point:

  • 6.5 percent of children age 0 to 18 were uninsured throughout 1993 (Bilheimer 1997) while only 3.2 percent were uninsured throughout the 32-month period (Bennefield 1995).(17)
  • 15.5 percent of children age 0 to 18 were uninsured at least one month in 1993 (Bilheimer 1997) while 29.0 percent were uninsured at least one month throughout the 32-month period (Bennefield 1995).(18)

Thus, for a given reference period, the percentage of children uninsured throughout is considerably less than the percentage uninsured in at least one month. This simply suggests there is substantial churning among uninsured children. From the examples above, 6.5 percent were uninsured throughout 1993 versus 15.5 percent uninsured at least one month.(19) The evidence of churning is even greater as the reference period increases: 3.2 percent were uninsured throughout the 32-month period versus 29.0 percent for at least one month. In short, although a substantial number of children are uninsured at a point in time (about 14 percent according to the CPS) the SIPP data tell us that the problem of uninsured children is even more widespread -- over a two-and-a-half year period almost one-third of all children will be uninsured at some point (Swartz 1994).(20)