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Children's Health Insurance Programs: Facts and Figures

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Publication Date: June 2006

Publisher(s): California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): Len Finocchio; Peter Harbage; Sarah Arnquist

Topic: Health (Health services for children)

Type: Brief

Coverage: California


From 2000 to 2005, the number of children enrolled in California's public insurance programs grew to 4.3 million, an increase of nearly 43%. While progress has been made, 800,000 children still lack coverage and the state is at a crossroads in dealing with the issue. This CHCF presentation examines the issue by identifying sources of coverage, comparing programs and enrollment, and highlighting issues for the immediate future. It provides a tool for policymakers and stakeholders to better understand the state's existing public and private children's health insurance programs, and where they may be headed. Findings include:

*From 2001 to 2003 (the last year for which data are available), the number of uninsured children eligible but not enrolled in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families fell by 35%; *California's county-based Children's Health Initiative has the fastest enrollment growth of the state's six major programs covering uninsured children; and *Of the ten largest states, California has the second-lowest rate of employer coverage and the second-highest rate of public program enrollment. Significant hurdles remain to covering the state's uninsured children. These include the reauthorization of federal funding for SCHIP (Healthy Families) and controversy about providing public health services for undocumented residents. Additionally, more than half of those eligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families are still not enrolled, and employer-sponsored coverage for children is declining. Several coverage expansion proposals, ranging from efforts to increase access through Web-based enrollment applications to a November state ballot initiative to fund insurance programs by taxing cigarettes, could also affect children's health coverage.