Prospects for Reducing Uninsured Rates Among Children

An important question in reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program ( SCHIP) is the extent to which uninsured children could be covered under employer-sponsored insurance through premium assistance programs, which use public funding under Medicaid and SCHIP to subsidize employer-sponsored insurance (ESI).

A new issue brief from Urban Institute indicates that just 4.6 percent of all Medicaid-eligible uninsured children and 15.9 percent of all SCHIP-eligible uninsured children have a parent with ESI coverage, suggesting that premium assistance programs may not make a substantial dent in the uninsured problem facing children since, as a practical matter, they would target at most only an estimated 440,000 uninsured children who are eligible for public coverage.

The findings in this issue brief highlight the importance of increasing enrollment in these programs among eligible families.