Children's Health: Trends and Options for Covering Kids

9/1/2014

Baby photoThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) is expected to cover millions of newly insured Americans through health insurance marketplaces, Medicaid expansion and other features. The law’s major coverage provisions focus on covering adults, and they also support children’s enrollment in private health insurance or public coverage. This brief summarizes current trends, challenges and opportunities for strengthening children’s coverage and highlights the law’s provisions that support children’s enrollment.

Trends and Challenges in Children’s Coverage

Before passage of the ACA, uninsured rates for children had declined to an historic low of 7 percent in 2013 down from 9.7 percent in 2008. Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) expansions, among other factors, helped close the gap for children in the years leading up to the federal law. Today, more than half the states offer Medicaid or CHIP coverage to children in families with incomes that are 250 percent of the federal poverty level or higher ($59,625 for a family of four in 2014).

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