Study: More kids in Delaware have health insurance

April 14, 2014

A new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report shows the percentage of Delaware children who lack health insurance fell to 3.6 percent in 2012, the most recent year of data available. The percentage of children who were uninsured in the state dropped from 8.9 percent in 2008. Nationwide, the percentage of children who were uninsured dropped from 9.7 percent to just 7.5 percent during the same time period.

Prepared by researchers at the University of Minnesota, the report shows significant gains in coverage among low-income children, who historically have been more likely to be uninsured.

“Reducing the number of children who lack health insurance has been a focus of state and federal policy-makers for years, and it’s encouraging to see that tremendous progress has been made,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of RWJF.

The analysis shows that despite more children obtaining insurance during the country’s recession and ongoing economic recovery, how kids obtain coverage has changed. In 2008, 69.5 percent of children in Delaware were covered through private insurance.

By 2012, just 63.8 percent had private insurance. Researchers say an increase in public coverage - including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program - more than offset the difference. In 2008, 21.6 percent of children in the state received public health insurance coverage, compared to 32.6 percent in 2012.

The increase in kids having insurance coverage was widespread across the nation. No state showed an increase in its percentage of uninsured kids between 2008 and 2012.

In Delaware, the report finds that children in low-income families had significant gains in insurance coverage. Children in households with family incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty line were most likely to be uninsured, but also experienced the greatest gains in coverage (13.6 percent uninsured in 2008 vs. 5.2 percent in 2012).

Although the health insurance provisions of the Affordable Care Act impact adults more than children, the researchers say children will be affected as well. For example, some uninsured children will gain coverage through the premium tax credits available on insurance exchanges. Also, children who were eligible for but not enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP could gain coverage if their parents sign up for public or exchange coverage under the ACA.