More children covered by health insurance

February 5, 2013

The year 2011 saw a record number of US children covered by health insurance, and the rate increased for the fourth year in a row, according to new report from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

The year 2011 saw a record number of US children covered by health insurance, and the rate increased for the fourth year in a row, according to new report from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

The report credits the increase to more children enrolling in government-sponsored health insurance programs, a rise of 9% between 2008 and 2011 compared with a 5% decline in the same time period for children enrolling in private medical plans, which may be attributed to unemployed parents taking jobs with no health benefits, having insurance without dependent coverage, or being unable to afford premiums.

Between 2008 and 2011, health insurance coverage for all children aged younger than 18 years increased from 90% to 92.5%, rising a modest 0.5% between 2010 and 2011. The small increase for 2011 could indicate that rates are stabilizing.

Since 2008, government-subsidized health insurance programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program have been expanded, and policies have been enacted to encourage greater participation for uninsured but eligible children.

The study indicates that the trend for rising public health insurance coverage and declining private coverage may continue as financially burdened families continue to turn to public insurance to provide coverage for their children.