Despite Economic Challenges, Progress Continues: Children’s Health Insurance Coverage in the United States from 2008-2010

In this paper, health insurance data from the Census Bureau’s annual “American Community Survey” was analyzed in order to get a more accurate depiction of children’s coverage. Even though the number of children living in poverty has increased almost 19 percent over a three-year period, the number of children without health insurance declined 14 percent– a true bright spot in an otherwise challenging landscape for America’s children. In 2010, about 8 percent of children were uninsured, as Medicaid and CHIP filled the gap created by the loss of coverage from the private sector. In contrast, adults, for whom Medicaid is not widely available, experienced an uninsurance rate of over 21 percent in 2010. However, progress made in reducing the number of uninsured children varied by state and region. The majority of states in the Northeast and Midwest had uninsured rates below the national average, while the majority of states in the West and South had uninsured rates higher than the national average. Massachusetts lead the country with the lowest percentage of uninsured children (1.5 percent), while Nevada had the highest (17.4 percent). The following issue-brief examines children’s coverage from 2008-2010.