Approximately 4 percent of
Jennifer E. DeVoe, M.D., D.Phil., of
More than 9 million children in the
Dr. DeVoe and colleagues examined the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of children and adolescents younger than 19 years of age who were more likely to be in families with parent-only health insurance coverage. The researchers conducted an analysis of pooled 2002-2005 data from the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
The researchers found that in the cross-sectional study population, 1,380 (3.3 percent) of 39,588 children and adolescents were uninsured with at least 1 insured parent. Among just the uninsured children, 27.9 percent had an insured parent.
Characteristics that were associated with a higher likelihood of a child or adolescent being uninsured despite having a parent with health insurance included: low- and middle-income households, low parental educational attainment (less than a high school education), Hispanic ethnicity, single-parent households, geographic residence in the South or West and having a parent with private insurance coverage.
“When weighted, these estimates represent 3 million children who had a coverage gap despite having at least 1 parent who had full-year coverage. More than a million of these children were without coverage for the entire year,” the researchers write.
“If families are better off covered under 1 plan but
“Incremental expansions in public insurance programs for children will continue to improve insurance rates in the short term. However, the longer-term solutions to keeping all children insured are likely to be more complicated. Unless health insurance coverage models are designed to keep entire families covered, some children will continue to get left behind. It is time to think beyond health insurance models to achieve a sustainable health care system and the best possible health outcomes for all families,” the authors conclude.