Health Insurance for Children:

Private Insurance Coverage Continues to Deteriorate

HEHS-96-129: Published: Jun 17, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the number of uninsured Medicaid-eligible children in 1994.

GAO found that: (1) the percentage of children without health insurance was 14.2 percent in 1994; (2) the percentage of children with private health insurance has steadily decreased since 1987; (3) while there has been a decline in coverage for poor children, coverage for nonpoor children has remained stable; (4) Medicaid coverage for children was lower in 1994 due to methodological changes in the Current Population Survey; (5) there were 2.9 million Medicaid-eligible children that were not enrolled in Medicaid in 1994; (6) these children represented 30 percent of all uninsured children from birth to 5 years old, and had family incomes that fell below the federal poverty level; (7) the number of children eligible for Medicaid will increase in the next 6 years to include poor teens aged 13 to 19 years old; and (8) Medicaid will cover even more uninsured children as soon as the families of eligible uninsured children learn that they qualify for Medicaid.

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