Identifying the race and ethnicity of children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is critical for understanding and addressing longstanding inequities in children’s healthcare.
Data on issues that affect children inform how health inequities are addressed; however, the completeness and quality of these data are inconsistent across states’ collection systems.
There is substantial variation in the quality of Medicaid and CHIP race and ethnicity data for children across states.
- Forty to fifty percent of states have moderate to high-quality data for identifying American Indian/Alaskan Native (22 states), Asian (22 states), Black (25 states), Hispanic (21 states), and White (21 states) children in 2018.
- Only one state (North Carolina) has moderate to high-quality data for all race and ethnicity categories.
- Twenty-four states have low-quality data for all race and ethnicity categories.
- Missing information for race and ethnicity data among children varies substantially.
Researchers determine there is substantial variation in the quality of the race and ethnicity variable for children across state Medicaid and CHIP programs. In addition to improving the quality of the race and ethnicity categories, more effort is needed to ensure smaller race and ethnicity categories are represented and identifiable in the data.
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