State Estimates of Uninsured Children, January 1998. Final Report.. B. Purpose of the Tables in This Report

05/17/2000

While much attention has focused on the inadequacy of the state estimates of uninsured children that the CPS provides, state and federal needs go well beyond a simple count of the number of uninsured children (or adults) in each state. How many of the uninsured children fall into different poverty levels? What are their ages? The answers to these questions are important because they have a direct bearing on how many children are eligible for existing public health insurance programs or may be eligible for new programs. To states that are trying to incrementally expand their coverage of children, it is very important to know how many children may become eligible for coverage with a given incremental change in the eligibility criteria. States need to know what it will cost, potentially, to extend coverage beyond current levels. Uncertainty about these numbers and therefore the cost implications of expanding coverage usually translates into caution in the design of new programs or modifications to existing programs. With better information, many states may find that they can afford to be more generous in the coverage that they extend to the uninsured.

The tables in this report are intended to provide baseline information that states could find useful in planning future expansions of their SCHIP initiatives and in evaluating their progress in reducing the number of children who are without health insurance.1 Moreover, the database that was used to create these tables can be used to generate customized tables that better suit the needs of individual states or federal policymakers.