More children and families have health insurance
Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data that showed more Americans – including children and their families – now have health insurance. In 2011, the number of people with health insurance increased to 260.2 million, compared to 256.6 million in 2010. The percentage of people with health insurance also increased to 84.3 percent in 2011, compared to 83.7 percent in 2010.
Likely attributable to the economy, the percentage of those covered by government health insurance increased from 31.2 percent to 32.2 percent. For example, the percentage covered by Medicaid increased from 15.8 percent in 2010 to 16.5 percent in 2011. Low-income children represent half of all Medicaid enrollees.
Additionally, 9.7 percent of children under the age of 19 (approximately 7.6 million) were without insurance last year. Compared to 2010, approximately 300,000 more children were enrolled in health coverage during 2011 – an improvement of 0.4 percent.
Although this is encouraging news, more work remains until every child has coverage for their health care needs and access to a quality provider, especially for those living in poverty. Last year, the uninsured rate for children in poverty (13.8 percent) was higher than the rate for all children (9.4 percent). We must push even harder toward enrolling these low-income children into health coverage, particularly Medicaid and CHIP, and ensuring these children have access to a high quality provider who will accept their insurance.