Uninsured rate for children remains at standstill

Even though children's participation in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is higher than adults' participation in Medicaid, the uninsured rate for children has yet to improve since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to a recent Health Reform Monitoring Survey published by the Urban Institute.

In part, that's because Medicaid Expansion and federal subsidies are both aimed at adults, notes the report's authors.

While subsidies provide health insurance to many individuals whose incomes fall at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, only six percent of marketplace enrollees were under the age of 18, according to the report.

Pre-ACA, the uninsured rate for children was already on the decline--the number of children without insurance fell from 9.7 percent in 2008 to 7.5 percent in 2012, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

In their report, the authors collected data from September 2013 until June 2014. They found that the majority of uninsured children are, in fact, eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, but have yet to enroll. More than half of uninsured children's families have incomes that qualify them for subsidized coverage.

The authors also note that while these initial findings suggest there is no significant change for the uninsured rate of children, the ACA does have the potential to reduce that rate over the course of time.

It's possible new engagement models will help increase participation--the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is looking for ways to encourage enrollment in the CHIP program.

If Congress fails to fund the program, about 12.7 million children could lose their CHIP coverage in 2016, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

For more:
- here's the full report