Prospects for Reducing Uninsured Rates among Children: How Much Can Premium Assistance Programs Help?

Brief

Prospects for Reducing Uninsured Rates among Children: How Much Can Premium Assistance Programs Help?

Abstract

With the reauthorization of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) under consideration in early 2009, an important question is the extent to which uninsured children could be covered under employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) through premium assistance programs. Only 440,000 uninsured children who are eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP have at least one parent with ESI coverage. Since many more uninsured children are eligible for public programs than have access to ESI through their parents, policies to increase enrollment and retention in Medicaid and SCHIP have much greater potential than premium assistance programs to close coverage gaps among children.

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