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More Families Rely On State Insurance

More families are enrolling their children in state-funded public insurance programs like Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), says a new report from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. The reasons are evident: job loss, coverage changes in private health insurance plans, and expanded access to public plans.

The shift is pronounced in rural areas and in inner cities, which traditionally have had lower coverage rates than suburban areas. The report says that 27 states “saw a decrease in private health insurance coverage for children, with children in Midwestern central cities experiencing the largest shift from private to public insurers in 2009. At the time, private insurance coverage fell 4.3 percentage points, while public coverage rose by 6.5 percentage points.” Alarmingly, about 9 percent of children nationwide are not covered by any form of insurance. More than half these children are eligible for coverage through Medicaid or SCHIP, says the report.

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