A report recently published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in collaboration with State Health Access Data Assistance Center analyzes recent trends in health insurance coverage for children at the state level between 2008 and 2010. The percentage of children with public coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) increased substantially, while rates of private coverage and uninsurance declined. However, the report found substantial variation across states.
The main findings of this report include the following:
1) Between 2008 and 2010, while the rate of uninsurance for nonelderly adults increased from 19.4% to 21.4% nationally, the uninsurance rate for children actually fell from 9.7% to 8.5%. States with the biggest declines in the rate of uninsurance included Florida, Mississippi, Delaware, Colorado and Oregon.
2) The percentage of children with coverage through Medicaid or CHIP increased by 5.6 percentage points nationally. Although private health insurance remains the dominant source of coverage, the percentage of children with private insurance fell from 64.5% to 60.1%. States with the largest increases in public coverage included Delaware, Mississippi, Vermont, Florida and Oregon, while states with the largest declines in private coverage included Vermont, Hawaii, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Delaware.
3) The increase in public coverage among children is likely tied to the effects of the economic recession. The percentage of children living in low-income families increased in most states, as did the percentage of children living in families with no employed adults.
October 17, 2012
The Affordable Care Act's provisions to increase federal revenue through taxes on high-income workers are among the many proposals that policymakers will face next year, according to a new report released
by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The report provides an overview of the tax and spending policy changes set forth by the Act. Collectively referred to as the "fiscal cliff," these policies would extend current revenue policies (e.g., extending the Bush tax cuts) and change current spending policies (e.g., not allowing the Budget Control Act sequester to take effect) to increase the projected budget deficit relative to current law. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that if current law remains in place, the budget deficit will fall by $502 billion between FY2012 and FY2013.
In making these fiscal policy choices, Congress will have to weigh the benefits of deficit reduction against the potential implications of fiscal policy choices for the ongoing economic recovery. Maintaining current revenue and spending policies will add to the deficit, while increasing revenues and reducing spending, as under current law, could slow economic growth. Thus, deficit reduction measures must be balanced against concerns that spending cuts or tax increases could dampen an already weak economic recovery. CBO has concluded that allowing current law fiscal policies to take effect will dampen short-term economic growth, but accelerate long-term economic growth. Conversely, CBO has concluded that postponing the fiscal restraint would accelerate short-term economic growth, but dampen long-term economic growth. In that context, several policy observers have recommended implementing a credible medium-term plan that balances economic considerations with deficit reduction.
October 10, 2012
An Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision prohibited insurers from denying or limiting coverage for children under the age of 19 in 2010. In response, some insurers ceased to offer coverage to children in need of individual health insurance.
An issue brief published
by the Commonwealth Fund and prepared by Georgetown University researchers examines new state legislative and regulatory action to promote the availability of child-only policies in response to this market disruption. The analysis finds that 22 states and the District of Columbia passed new legislation or issued a new regulation or subregulatory guidance. As a result, child-only coverage is available in nearly all of these states. The findings in the Commonwealth Fund report suggest that states have flexibility to take innovative actions to maintain or improve their markets and insurers are highly sensitive to the risk of adverse selection. The findings also suggest the need for meaningful regulatory incentives to avoid market disruption in successfully implementing broader reforms in 2014.
July 10, 2012
The Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) upheld the individual mandate and made the expansion of Medicaid coverage to nonelderly adults with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level optional for states. In a new brief, authors from the Urban Institute estimate
the number of uninsured Americans in each state who could be eligible for Medicaid if every state takes advantage of the option of expanding Medicaid coverage. According to the report, almost half of the nation's uninsured could qualify for Medicaid under the ACA. Of 22.3 million low-income uninsured Americans who could be potentially eligible for Medicaid under the ACA, 67 percent (15.1 million) are adults not currently eligible for Medicaid. Of this group, 11.5 million have incomes below poverty and would not qualify for any other subsidized coverage.
June 23, 2012
In a recently released report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates
that under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), about 75% of approximately 7 million children who were uninsured in January 2009 would be eligible for Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or the ACA's new premium tax credit. The remaining children had family incomes too high to be eligible, were noncitizens, or would be ineligible for the premium tax credit because they would be considered to have access to affordable employer-sponsored insurance per the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) proposed affordability standard. In this standard, the IRS interpreted the ACA as defining affordability for an employee’s eligible family members based on the cost of an employee-only plan. Some commenters raised concerns that IRS’s interpretation was inconsistent with the ACA’s goal of increasing access to affordable health insurance as it does not consider the higher cost of family insurance and could result in some children remaining uninsured.
ACA sought to increase access to...
February 7, 2012
In a new issue brief entitled "The Income Divide in Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Help Restore Fairness to the U.S. Health System," The Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey of U.S. adults finds nearly three of five adults in families earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level were uninsured for a time in 2011. Two of five were uninsured for one or more years. Low- and moderate-income adults who were uninsured during the year were much less likely to have a regular source of health care than people in the same income range who were insured all year. In addition, uninsured lower-income adults were more likely than insured adults in the same income group to cite factors other than medical emergencies as reasons for going to the emergency room. These included needing a prescription drug, not having a regular doctor, or saying that other places cost too much. The report suggests that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will substantially narrow these inequities through a set of affordable coverage options.
April 22, 2010
Provides funding for a temporary high-risk health insurance pool for individuals with pre-existing conditions.