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Key Findings from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey: Access to Care among Uninsured and Insured Children

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Publication Date: August 2004

Publisher(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Author(s): The Urban Institute

Topic: Health (Health services for children)

Type: Report


Three key measures of access indicate whether children are receiving the care they need: a regular source of medical care, regular checkups and, of course, having medical needs met in a timely fashion. New research from the Urban Institute shows, however, that children who lack health insurance go without these basics far more often than their insured counterparts. This analysis uses data on 12,500 children from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a continuous in-person household survey with a nationally representative sample, to compare access to care for uninsured children with access for children with insurance. While 26 percent of insured children did not receive a well-child checkup in the past year, almost twice that rate of children without insurance (48 percent) did not receive a well-child checkup. Only 3 percent of insured children lack a usual source of care, but that number is 26 percent for children without insurance. When it comes to unmet medical needs, uninsured children are more than five times more likely to have unmet needs. Specific demographic groups experience even worse outcomes for these measures. Many uninsured children are eligible for public insurance programs. Covering Kids & Families, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is working towards increasing the number of children and adults enrolled in public insurance programs.