Extending Medicaid: Good for Parents, Great For Kids! Here’s Why

One of the best state approaches for covering the remaining low-income uninsured children is to put out the welcome mat for the whole family by extending Medicaid coverage for parents.  While most low-income kids are currently eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, they continue to be disproportionately uninsured: in 2012, they were 45.1 percent of the US child population, yet 63.5 percent of the uninsured.

States choosing to extend Medicaid coverage to parents directly help kids by:

  • reducing the number of uninsured kids;
  • boosting kids’ financial security; and
  • providing kids with better care from healthier parents.

Want the facts to back this up?  Read our new fact sheet that highlights what the latest research says about why covering low-income parents is good for kids.

As of today, only 26 states including DC are moving forward with the Medicaid expansion for low-income adults, including parents.  In the 25 states that have not yet decided to expand Medicaid, the average eligibility level for parents is 52 percent of the federal poverty level, and a significant coverage gap for parents will remain.

Recent data shows that the number of uninsured adults remains very high. Our new report shows that in 2012, 7.2 percent of kids were uninsured, but in the same year 20.6 percent of adults were uninsured.  Our most recent study of parents’ insurance coverage showed that 18.2 percent of parents were uninsured at a time when 8 percent of kids were uninsured.

Sonya Schwartz
Sonya Schwartz is a Research Fellow at the Center for Children and Families

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