Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. HC 3.1 Health Insurance Coverage

01/01/2000

Children who are covered by health insurance are considerably more likely to have a regular source of health care. Among children covered by private health insurance, 97 percent had a regular source of medical care in 1993, and of those covered by government health insurance, 94 percent had a regular source of medical care. In contrast, 79 percent of children with no health insurance had a regular source of medical care.50 Regular care increases the continuity of care, which is important to the maintenance of good health.

Since 1987, the percentage of children who are covered by health insurance has remained stable, ranging from 85 to 87 percent (see Table HC 3.1.A). Rates of coverage vary little by age of child, though older children appear slightly less likely to be covered.

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin.51 Hispanic children are less likely to be covered than either white or black children. In 1998, 70 percent of Hispanic children were covered by health insurance, compared with 86 percent of white, 83 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander, and 80 percent of black children (see Table HC 3.1.A).

Differences by Poverty Status. Poor children have lower rates of health insurance coverage at 75 percent compared to 85 percent for all children in 1998 (see Tables HC 3.1.A and HC 3.1.B). They are also much less likely to be covered by private health insurance at 23 percent compared to 68 percent for all children.

Differences by Type of Health Care Coverage. Government health insurance coverage for children increased from 19 percent in 1987 to a high of 27 percent in 1993, before declining to 23 percent by 1998 (see Figure HC 3.1).52 Younger children are considerably more likely to be covered by government health insurance. In 1998, 27 percent of children under age 6 were covered, compared with 19 percent of children ages 12 through 17 (see Table HC 3.1.A). Finally, a large proportion of black and Hispanic children rely on government health insurance for their medical coverage. In 1998, 42 percent of black and 31 percent of Hispanic children were covered by government health insurance, compared with 19 percent of white children. These percentages are down from highs of 50 and 41 percent, respectively, in 1993. The vast majority of children covered by government health insurance are covered by Medicaid (see Table 3.1.C).

Table HC 3.1.A Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States who are covered by health insurance, by type of insurance, age, and race and Hispanic origin:a 1987-1998

  1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
All health insurance
All children 87 87 87 87 87 87 86 86 86 85 85 85
Under age 6 88 87 87 89 89 89 88 86 87 86 86 84
Ages 6-11 87 87 87 87 88 88 87 87 87 85 86 85
Ages 12-17 86 86 86 85 85 85 83 85 86 84 83 84
Race and Hispanic origina
White 88 88 88 87 88 88 87 87 87 86 86 86
Blacka 83 84 84 85 85 86 84 83 85 81 81 80
Hispanic 72 71 70 72 73 75 74 72 73 71 71 70
Asian/Pacific Islander 85 83
Private health insurance
All children 74 74 74 71 70 69 67 66 66 66 67 68
Age                        
Under age 6 72 71 71 68 66 65 63 60 60 62 63 64
Ages 6-11 74 74 75 73 71 71 70 67 67 67 68 68
Ages 12-17 75 76 76 73 72 71 69 70 71 70 70 70
Race and Hispanic origina
White 79 79 78 76 75 74 72 71 71 71 71 72
Blacka 49 50 52 49 45 46 46 43 44 45 48 47
Hispanic 48 48 48 45 43 42 42 38 38 40 42 43
Asian/Pacific Islander 70 67
Government health insuranceb
All children 19 19 19 22 24 25 27 26 26 25 23 23
Age                        
Under age 6 22 23 24 28 30 33 35 33 33 31 29 27
Ages 6-11 19 18 18 20 22 23 25 25 26 25 23 23
Ages 12-17 16 16 15 18 19 19 20 20 21 19 19 19
Race and Hispanic origina
White 14 14 15 17 19 20 22 21 21 21 20 19
Blacka 42 42 41 45 48 49 50 48 49 45 40 42
Hispanic 28 27 27 32 37 38 41 38 39 35 34 31

a Estimates for blacks and whites include Hispanics of those races. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

b Government health insurance for children consists primarily of Medicaid but also includes Medicare and CHAMPUS

Sources: Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, U.S. Census Bureau, analyses from the March Current Population Surveys. Health Insurance Coverage: 1998, Table 7, available online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/hlthins/hlthin98/hi98t7.html, 10/4/99, and unpublished Table 1: Health Insurance Coverage Status—People by Age, Gender, and Race: 1997. Estimates for 1987-1998 as published in Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2000 Table ECON5.A.


Table HC 3.1.B Percentage of poor children under age 18 in the United States who are covered by health insurance, by type of insurance, age, and race and Hispanic origin:a 1998

  All health insurance Private health insurance Government health insurance
All poor children 75 23 59
Age
Under age 6 76 20 64
Ages 6-11 77 25 60
Ages 12-17 70 24 52
Race and Hispanic origina
White 72 25 55
Black 79 18 66
Hispanic 67 16 55
Asian/Pacific Islander 83 30 62

a Estimates for whites and blacks include Hispanics of those races. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

b Government health insurance for children consists primarily of Medicaid but also includes Medicare and CHAMPUS.

Source: Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, U.S. Census Bureau, analyses from the March Current Population Surveys. Health Insurance Coverage: 1998, Table 7.


Figure HC 3.1 Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States who are covered by health insurance, by type of insurance:a 1987-1998

Figure HC 3.1 Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States who are covered by health insurance, by type of insurance:a 1987-1998

a Government health insurance for children consists primarily of Medicaid but also includes Medicare and CHAMPUS.

Sources: Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, U.S. Bureau of the Census, analyses from the March Current Population Surveys. Health Insurance Coverage: 1998, Table 7, available online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/hlthins/hlthin98/hi98t7.html, 10/4/99. Estimates for 1987-1996 as published in America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 1998, Table ECON5.A.


Table HC 3.1.C Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States who are covered by Medicaid, by age and by race and Hispanic origin:a 1987-1998

  1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Total all children 15 16 16 19 20 22 24 23 23 22 21 20
Age
Under age 6 18 19 20 24 27 30 32 30 30 28 26 24
Ages 6-11 15 15 15 17 19 20 22 22 23 22 20 20
Ages 12-17 12 12 11 14 15 15 17 16 17 16 16 16
Race and Hispanic origina
White 11 11 11 14 16 17 19 18 18 18 17 16
Black 38 38 37 42 44 46 47 44 45 41 37 39
Hispanic 26 25 25 30 34 37 39 37 37 34 32 30
Asian/Pacific Islander  18 19
Poor children 56 57 57 62 66 66 67 64 65 63 61 58
Age
Under age 6 61 63 63 71 75 74 76 72 73 71 67 63
Ages 6-11 56 57 56 59 64 64 66 65 65 63 62 59
Ages 12-17 48 48 47 52 54 55 54 52 53 51 52 51
Race and Hispanic origina
White 49 49 49 56 59 60 62 59 59 59 57 54
Black 67 69 69 73 77 76 77 74 76 70 68 65
Hispanic 53 48 50 58 61 63 62 62 64 60 60 54
Asian/Pacific Islander 63 61

a Estimates for whites and blacks include Hispanics of those races. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Source: Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, U.S. Bureau of the Census, analyses from the March Current Population Surveys, Table 7.


50 Simpson G., Bloom B., Cohen R.A., & Parsons P.E. 1997. Access to Health Care. Part 1: Children. Vital and Health Statistics 10 (196). National Center for Health Statistics.

51 Estimates for whites, blacks, and Asians and Pacific Islanders include Hispanics of those races. Hispanic children may be of any race.

52 Government health insurance for children consists primarily of Medicaid but also includes Medicare and CHAMPUS.

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