Children's Health Insurance 1995

HEHS-97-68R: Published: Feb 19, 1997. Publicly Released: Feb 19, 1997.

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William J. Scanlon
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youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on recent trends in children's health insurance through 1995 and a set of tables showing the number and percentage of uninsured children, 0 to 17 years of age, and uninsured young adults, 18 to 20 years of age, by different ages and poverty levels in 1995.

GAO noted that: (1) health insurance coverage for children appeared to stabilize in 1995, after declining between 1987 and 1994; (2) in 1995, young adults were less likely to have health insurance coverage than children; (3) over 23 percent of those aged 18 to 20 were uninsured in 1995, compared with 13.8 percent for all children under 18; (4) between 1987 and 1994, the percentage of children with private health insurance decreased and the number and percentage of children with Medicaid rose substantially; (5) between 1994 and 1995, the percentage of children with private health insurance and the percentage of children with Medicaid increased, but neither was a statistically significant change; (6) the percentage of uninsured children under 18 increased only slightly between 1987 and 1995; (7) one reason the increase was not greater, given the drop in private coverage, was that Medicaid eligibility expansion enabled more low-income children to enroll in Medicaid; (8) in 1995, 39 percent of uninsured children under 18 were poor and 78 percent were in families with income at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty level; and (9) in 1995, the percentage of uninsured young adults, 18 to 20 years of age, who were poor or had income at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty level was similar to the percentage of uninsured children at those income levels.

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