Youth uninsured rates fell during pandemic, but that trend could reverse, study finds 

About 700,000 children have gained health coverage since 2019 due to federal pandemic policies, but that trend could reverse without legislative action, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.

The study was published June 29 and analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey and the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, along with data from Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Five key takeaways:

  1. The annual uninsurance rate among children ages 0-17 decreased from 5.1 percent in 2019 to 4.1 percent in 2021, which is about 700,000 children.

  2. Between early 2019 and early 2021, there was a 4.9 percent increase in coverage from public plans and a nearly equal corresponding decline in private coverage.

  3. Approximately 4 million more children were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP in March 2021 compared to March 2019.

  4. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is credited with likely limiting the pandemic's effects on children's health coverage rates.

  5. Without legislative action to maintain the ACA marketplace tax credits and limit coverage losses when the continuous coverage requirement expires, youth uninsurance rates could go up in 2022 and beyond.


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