Using National Survey Data to Analyze Children’s Health Insurance Coverage: An Assessment of Issues. A. IDENTIFYING UNINSURED CHILDREN IN SURVEYS


Most of what is known about the health insurance coverage of children in the United States has been derived from sample surveys of households. Three ongoing federal surveys collect data on insurance coverage from nationally representative samples, thereby providing a steady source of information on trends in coverage as well as supporting in-depth analyses of issues in health care coverage. Periodically the federal government and private foundations sponsor additional, specialized surveys to gather more detailed information on particular topics. After a brief review of the major federal surveys and three recent specialized surveys, we outline the alternative approaches that are being used to identify uninsured children and consider some of the measurement problems that confront these efforts. We close this section with a discussion of the interpretation of estimates of the uninsured from the most widely cited of these surveys.