Medicaid/CHIP Participation Among Children and Parents

Despite the economic downturn, most states maintained or improved children’s access to health care over the last several years by expanding eligibility and improving enrollment and retention in Medicaid/CHIP.

This report presents estimates on Medicaid/CHIP participation rates, and examines how participation, eligibility, and rates of being insured have changed among children between 2008 and 2010 and examines participation rates among parents. An update to this report was released in September, 2013.

Key Findings

  • Nationally, the number of uninsured children in the United States who are not enrolled in public health insurance programs for which they are eligible fell 10 percent – from 4.9 million in 2008 to 4.4 million in 2010, according to a new analysis of government data.

  • In 2010, 14 states (AZ, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, LA, ME, MA., MI, NY, TN, VT, and WV) had Medicaid/CHIP participation rates of 90% or higher. Several states saw increases close to or more than 10 percentage points.

  • Six states (CO, ID, MT, NV, TX, and UT) had participation rates below 80 percent.

  • In the 2009-2010 period, national participation rates were lower for eligible parents (65.6%) than for children (85.1%), a situation also true in every state. States that had relatively higher/lower participation rates among children were more likely to also have higher/lower rates among parents.

The authors conclude the success of these programs in enrolling eligible children holds clues for enrolling eligible adults – an integral part of health reform, which is expected to greatly expand Medicaid to cover more uninsured adults in states that adopt the Medicaid expansion provision under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This report was prepared by researchers at the Urban Institute as part of the Quick Strike Series.