Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, has issued a challenge to enroll the millions of uninsured children eligible for public insurance in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance
Program (CHIP). This paper provides estimates of the rates at which children in the various states participated in these programs in 2008, as well as the number who were eligible for them but uninsured.
According to our coverage estimates, an estimated 7.3 million children were uninsured on an average day in 2008, of whom 4.7 million (65%) were eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but not enrolled. Participation rates varied across states from 55 percent to 95 percent, and 10 states had participation rates close to or above 90 percent. Thirty-nine percent of eligible uninsured children (1.8 million) live in just three states—California, Texas, and Florida—and 61 percent (2.9 million) live in 10 states. Meeting Secretary Sebelius’s challenge means achieving success in these populous states, in part through tools and resources available under the 2009 CHIP reauthorization law.