Rural Health Policy Project

Coverage Trends for American Indian and Alaska Native Children and Families

Uninsured rates for children in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) families have dropped quickly in the past eight years, but they still remain high and will likely rise if substantial cuts are made to the Medicaid program, according to the report, Coverage Trends for American Indian and Alaska Native Children and Families.

The report found:

  • 54 percent of AI/AN children were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP in 2015, compared to 39 percent of all children nationwide.
  • Alaska ranked first in proportion of the Medicaid population that is AI/AN for both children and adults in 2015. Other states with the largest proportions of AI/AN populations are South Dakota,North Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma. The importance of Medicaid to families in these states has grown considerably since 2008.
  • All of these states with high proportions of their AI/AN children on Medicaid saw very large double digit declines in their uninsured rates for these children between 2008 and 2015.
  • Nationally, the uninsured rate for AI/AN adults declined from 36 percent to 28 percent between 2008 and 2015.  The largest percentage point increase in Medicaid coverage were all in states that expanded their Medicaid programs to non-disabled, non-elderly adults under the Affordable Care Act.