By Giles Bruce, Center for Health Journalism, July 3, 2019.
The conventional wisdom is that kids are on government health insurance because their parents are unemployed or work at small businesses with meager benefits.
A study released this week debunks that theory.
Research from the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that the majority of children insured through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — more than 70% — have a parent employed by a large company. The study is being published in the July issue of Health Affairs.
“The study really demonstrates that public insurance really plays a big role for working families in the U.S.,” said Doug Strane, a researcher at PolicyLab and the study’s lead author. “It goes back to the escalating cost of health care, costs families and employers aren’t really able to keep up with.”
Working families' reliance on government-sponsored health coverage comes at a precarious time for insurance access: In 2017, the rate of uninsured children rose for the first time in more than a decade. And in 2018, about830,000 fewer kids were on Medicaid or CHIP than the year prior.
This latest research came out of a 2016 study by the PolicyLab that found a rising number of working families were turning to public insurance for their kids. This time around, the researchers wanted to find out where those parents were employed.