Health Care Financing
In 2006, 8.7 million children younger than 18 years of age had no health insurance coverage; this represents 11.7 percent of the child population. Almost 30 percent of children were publicly insured by sources such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Children’s insurance status varies by a number of factors, including race and ethnicity and family income. Non-Hispanic White children were most likely to have private insurance coverage in 2006 (76.9 percent), while fewer than half of non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic children had private coverage during the same period (49.4 and 40.9 percent, respectively). Non-Hispanic Black children were most likely to have public coverage (43.5 percent); Hispanic children were the most likely to be uninsured (22.1 percent). As family income increases, private health insurance coverage among children rises, while the proportion of children with public coverage and no coverage decreases. In 2006, children with family incomes below 100 percent of poverty were the most likely to have public coverage (67.2 percent) or be uninsured (19.3 percent), and were least likely to have private coverage (19.5 percent). The majority of children with family incomes of 200 to 299 percent or 300 percent or more of poverty were privately insured (72.7 and 90.0 percent, respectively).
In 1997, CHIP was created in response to the growing number of uninsured children in low-income working families. In 2006, more than 6.6 million children were enrolled in CHIP. Although designed to cover children with family incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level, many States have expanded eligibility to children with higher family incomes.