Blog

For millions of children across the country, health insurance access depends on two government-sponsored programs: Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Nationwide, 43 percent of children receive health insurance through government-sponsored programs like these, as of 2015.

As of August 2017, more than half of all children in 15 states are covered through Medicaid and CHIP specifically: Alabama (54.9 percent), Arkansas (57.8), California (53.6), Florida (57.8), Kentucky (51.9), Louisiana (63.5), Mississippi (59.5), Montana (52.7), New Mexico (66.9), New York (56.4), North Carolina (59.2), Oklahoma (50.4), Rhode Island (56.6), South Carolina (53.7), and West Virginia (56.6). In four additional states, just under half of children receive health insurance through such programs: Delaware (49.3 percent), Pennsylvania (49.2), Vermont (49.1), and Washington (49.0).

Only in three states do less than one-quarter of children depend on these programs for health insurance: North Dakota (23.3 percent), Utah (22.4), and Wyoming (24.2). Data are not available for the District of Columbia, Tennessee and Arizona.

Children across the United States are at risk of losing their access to health insurance if Congress does not renew funding for CHIP, which expired in September. States like Alabama are already freezing enrollment and 16 other states are at risk of running out of federal funding for CHIP by the end of January—which could lead them to freeze, scale back, or end their programs. Research shows that when children have health insurance, they are more likely to be healthy and receive the medical care they need—and more likely to see improved outcomes related to education and economic security.

Made possible by support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Authors

Subscribe to Child Trends

Short weekly updates of recent research on children and youth.