Room to Grow: Inequities in Children's Health Insurance Coverage
Health insurance is a linchpin in the United States’ health care system. It can insulate families from deep financial strain and medical debt, as costs for health care services have grown increasingly unaffordable in recent decades. For children, the doorway to health care offered by insurance is uniquely important—ensuring their opportunity to develop into healthy adults by providing access to regular health screenings, routine services, vaccinations, and vital treatments when health issues are identified.
Children’s health insurance coverage rates in the United States have improved since the 1990s, largely due to policy initiatives designed to provide kids with affordable health insurance options, such as the long-running Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) established twenty-five years ago.1 However, while overall uninsured rates remain low, disparities among select groups of children have persisted, with wide gaps in coverage found across the states and certain demographic categories.
In this issue brief and accompanying 50-state profiles, SHADAC researchers explore rates of uninsurance among children in the U.S. using 2016-2020 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). Aiming to quantify coverage disparities in the states, this analysis looks at rates of uninsurance by race and ethnicity, income as measured by poverty level, citizenship status, age, and metropolitan status. These products can be used to identify health equity gaps and develop policies and initiatives to ensure children have needed access to health insurance and health care.
Uninsured Children by State, 2016-2020
Click on a state in the graphic below to view its kid's coverage profile. Click here to download all 50-state profiles.
1 Gates, J.A., Karpman, M., Kenney, G.M., & McMorrow, S. (2016). Uninsurance among children, 1997–2015: Long-term trends and recent patterns. Urban Institute. https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/79316/2000732-Uninsurance-among-Children-Long-Term-Trends-and-Recent-Patterns.pdf