Who Are Florida’s Remaining Uninsured Children?

Last fall we wrote an issue brief about children’s health coverage in Florida. Florida’s child uninsured rate has reached a new low of 6.2% – although the state still lags behind the national average of 4.5% and has one of the highest uninsured rates in the South. This progress is the result of years of national and state efforts to cover children through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (Healthy Kids in Florida) as well as, more recently, the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

This blog takes a closer look at who the remaining uninsured children in Florida are.1 Overall, there are approximately 257,000 uninsured children in the state. Future blogs in the series will address the question of how the state could finish the job of covering children.

A closer look suggests that Florida’s uninsured kids share traits with the national profile of uninsured children. Let’s look at some specifics.

Older children are more likely to be uninsured. Three quarters of Florida’s uninsured children are school-aged (ages 6-18) and one quarter are under age six. Overall, 68% of Florida’s children are over six so a disproportionate number of them are uninsured. School-aged children are also more likely to be uninsured in the U.S. as the graph below illustrates, but Florida’s uninsured children are even more likely to be school-aged.2

PercentUninsured_FLvUS

Children in families from the “working poor” (i.e. just above the poverty line) have the highest rate of uninsurance. Almost one-third of Florida’s uninsured children live in families with income between 100 and 200 percent of the poverty line. The vast majority of these children are likely eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but are not currently enrolled – so that will be an important consideration in future blogs about how to reduce the number of Florida’s uninsured children.

As Table 2 illustrates,

UninsuredFPL_FL

Two-thirds of Florida’s uninsured children are white, but Latino children are disproportionately uninsured. This is also similar to national trends.

The vast majority of these children are likely citizens. This data source does not allow us to easily look at the citizenship question. However, numerous data sources suggest that it is likely that the vast majority of uninsured children in Florida are citizens – though “mixed status” families with a citizen child and an immigrant parent may be common. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 40,000 undocumented children below age 16 living in Florida – though this estimate is for data from 2010-2014.3

Approximately 20 percent of Florida’s population is foreign born (which includes persons of all legal status including naturalized citizens) but the vast majority of Florida’s foreign born residents are adults, with children 18 and under constituting just 5.3 percent of foreign born Floridians as compared to 24 percent of U.S. born.4 We will make more data available on this question as it becomes available.

Photo is courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action. 

  1. We used data from the American Community Survey Single Year estimates retrieved from Fact Finder. All data is from 2016. Data from 2017 will be available soon.
  2. For more on this subject, see our new report on school aged children. Florida has the second highest differential in the country (cite p. of report with chart on this).
  3. Migration Policy Institute, Profile of the Unauthorized Population, Florida, this sources uses American Community Survey data pooled from 2010-2014.
  4. Migration Policy Institute, State Immigration Data Profiles, Data retrieved for Florida, 2016 on August 20, 2018. Available here https://www.migrationpolicy.org/data/state-profiles/state/demographics/FL
Joan Alker
Joan Alker is the Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families and a Research Professor at the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy

Latest