By 2011, twenty states and the District of Columbia had expanded eligibility for federally funded public insurance to low-income immigrant children within their first five years of legal residence in the United States under the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009. Data from the National Survey of Children's Health shows that compared to immigrant children in states that did not expand eligibility, children in states expanding eligibility experienced a 24.5 percent increase in insurance coverage, largely due to greater enrollment in public insurance. These immigrant children also experienced significant reductions in unmet health care needs, compared to their counterparts in non-expansion states. Disparities relative to children in nonimmigrant families were substantially reduced in states that expanded eligibility, compared to states that did not. Expanding eligibility for federally funded public insurance to immigrant children within their first five years of legal residence in other states could improve coverage for immigrant children and might also increase access to care.
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