There’s good news in the new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report on children’s health coverage: More and more of them have it. From 2008 to 2012, the uninsurance rate among children — the share of kids who lacked health coverage — fell from 9.7 percent to 7.5 percent, according to the report.
As always, there was a lot of variation by state
The 2012 rate was lowest in Massachusetts, at 1.4 percent, and highest in Nevada, at 17 percent. Six states had rates below 3.9 percent while eight had rates above 10 percent.
But coverage improved across the board
Uninsured rates fell in statistically significant ways in 35 states, while no state saw a statistical increase. (The map shows a handful of states with increases, but none were statistically significant.) Oregon was most improved, thanks to a 6.4 percentage point drop in its uninsured rate to 6.0 percent. With private coverage declining generally, public coverage rose in all but three states.
There’s an income gap for children’s health coverage
While children at the bottom of the income distribution saw uninsurance rates drop the most, their rates remained much higher than high- or even middle-income children.
… and it exists in every state
The gap in coverage by income is widest in Minnesota, where a low-income child is 11.6 times more likely to lack health coverage than a high-income child. (In fairness, the high-income uninsurance rate there is very low, while the rate among low-income children is close to the national average.) In Arkansas, that gap is much smaller: a low-income kid is just 1.6 times more likely to lack coverage than their high-income peers.
Some states made big strides toward equalizing coverage rates, with Colorado, Connecticut, Arizona and Oregon all shrinking their income gap by more than 40 percent.
Hispanic children lack coverage at higher rates
White, non-white and Hispanic kids all saw their uninsured rates fall.
Hispanic children saw both the biggest declines between 2008 and 2012 and the highest rates of being uninsured. In 2012, they were 2.3 times than twice as likely as white children to lack insurance. In Nebraska, they were 4.8 times as likely as whites to lack coverage, compared to Alaska where they were 0.6 times as likely. The gap between Hispanics and whites is shrinking, though.
But non-whites are better off in some states
While non-whites are 1.3 times as likely as whites to lack health coverage nationally, there are five states where the opposite is true: white children are worse off.
In Arkansas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wyoming and South Carolina, whites are more likely to be uninsured than non-whites. But whites are better off in the rest of the nation, with North Dakota leading that disparity list: there, non-whites are four times more likely to lack coverage.