Further Evidence that Medicaid and CHIP Have Played Significant Role in Nation’s Success in Covering Children

Efforts to connect kids to coverage over the past decade were accelerated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are paying off big! A new report by the Urban Institute shows that the number of uninsured children who were eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid fell by 40% in just two years between 2013 and 2015. As of 2015, the national Medicaid/CHIP participation among eligible children without private coverage was an impressive 93.1%, up from 88.7% in 2013.

What does this mean? It means that the number of uninsured children who were eligible but not enrolled fell by 40% from 2013 to 2015, with 2.1 million children gaining coverage in Medicaid or CHIP.

We already knew that the uninsured rate among children dropped by one-third from 7% to 4.75% during this time period. But the Urban report clearly illustrates the significant role that Medicaid and CHIP have played in the nation’s success in covering more than 95% of children.

The participation of rate for parents has some catching up to do. After all, Medicaid and CHIP have been hard at work for the past couple of decades to conduct outreach and remove red tape administrative barriers to enrollment and retention for kids. Still, the participation rate for parents experienced nearly twice the improvement compared to kids, increasing from 71.7% to 80.2%.

The report provides state-level data that demonstrates the welcome mat effect of the ACA, particularly in states that have expanded Medicaid. Stay tuned for part II of this blog, when my colleague Adam Searing unpacks the details on how participation gains in expansion states are even more striking.








Tricia Brooks is a Research Professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families.