Health Care Financing
In 2007, 8.1 million children younger than 18 years of age had no health insurance coverage, representing 11.0 percent of the population. This was a slight drop from the rate of 11.7 percent the previous year. More than 30 percent of children were insured through public programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP; changed to CHIP in 2009).
Children’s insurance status varies by a number of factors, including race and ethnicity and poverty status. Non-Hispanic White children were more likely than children of other racial/ethnic groups to have private insurance coverage in 2007 (76.9 percent), while fewer than half of non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic children had private coverage during the same period (48.7 and 40.4 percent, respectively). Non-Hispanic Black children were most likely to have public coverage (47.1 percent), and Hispanic children were the most likely to be uninsured (20.0 percent).
As family income increases, private health insurance coverage among children rises and the proportions of children with public coverage and no coverage decrease. In 2007, children with family incomes below 100 percent of the poverty threshold ($21,203 for a family of four in 2007) were most likely to have public coverage (70.1 percent) or be uninsured (17.6 percent), and were least likely to have private coverage (17.2 percent). The majority of children with family incomes of 200 to 299 percent and 300 percent or more of poverty were privately insured (72.7 and 90.2 percent, respectively).
In 1997, SCHIP was created in response to the growing number of uninsured children in low-income working families. In 2007, more than 7.1 million children were enrolled in SCHIP. 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.