Number of Uninsured Children Fell in 2014, Study Finds

Number of Uninsured Children Fell in 2014, Study Finds

The number of children in the U.S. without health insurance coverage fell by approximately one million in 2014, from 5.9 million to 4.9 million, a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds.

Based on census data, the report, State Level Trends in Children's Health Insurance Coverage (56 pages, PDF), found that in 2014 — the first full year following the complete implementation of the Affordable Care Act's coverage provisions — the percentage of uninsured children nationwide fell from 7.5 percent in 2013 to 6.3 percent, with statistically significant declines in twenty-three states and no significant increases in any state. The analysis also found that nearly half the remaining uninsured children are concentrated in six states — Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and New York — despite the fact that four of those states also saw the largest reductions in the number of uninsured children. Decreases in uninsured rates were especially pronounced among groups that historically have been most likely to be uninsured — Latino children (-1.9 percentage points), other children of color (-1.5 percentage points), and those living in low-income families (-1.7 percentage points).

Conducted by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center, a program of RWJF at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, the analysis also found that the relatively large reduction in the number of uninsured was driven primarily by enrollment gains in public coverage but also by gains in private coverage. In 2014, the percentage of children with private coverage increased  0.4 percentage points, to 59.2 percent, while those enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program increased  0.8 percentage points, to 34.5 percent.

"Despite the politicking around health policy lately, I think we can all agree that coverage for kids is essential for their healthy development," said Kathy Hempstead, senior program officer and director of coverage issues at RWJF. "The last year has shown continued progress in expanding coverage to children and the reduction of differences by race, ethnicity, and income, but there is more work to be done."

"Study: Gains in Kid’s Health Coverage Continue" Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Press Release 02/11/2016. "State Level Trends in Children’s Health Insurance Coverage" Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Report 02/11/2016.