The national rate of uninsured children increased from 4.7 percent in 2016 to 5.0 percent in 2017, ending a run of nationwide gains in children’s coverage that lasted from 2008 through 2016 and bringing the total number of children nationwide to nearly 4 million. This is according to a new annual report on children’s health insurance coverage from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
“This analysis is concerning because research has shown that uninsured children have fewer visits to see physicians and to address chronic conditions as well as use fewer preventive health care services compared to insured children,” said the report’s lead author and SHADAC deputy drector Ms. Elizabeth Lukanen.
Key National Findings
- The increase in uninsurance was driven by decreases in both Medicaid coverage (-0.7 points) and individual coverage (-0.4 points), which outweighed simultaneous gains in employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) coverage (0.7 points).
- The 2017 national increase in uninsurance was significant across all demographic groups.
- State changes in children’s health insurance coverage from 2016 to 2017 reflected the national picture of increases in uninsurance and ESI coverage, along with decreases in Medicaid and individual coverage.
- State-level disparities in uninsured rates among children were substantial in 2017, with uninsurance varying widely within and across states both among children as a whole and by income, race/ethnicity, and parental education. At the state level, increases in uninsurance were particularly prevalent among nonwhite children.
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