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Number of Uninsured Children Reverts to Pre-ACA Levels

October 15, 2020

A new Georgetown University Health Policy Institute report details a record increase in the number of children across the country without health insurance. With more than four million uninsured children as of 2019, years of national progress driven by the Affordable Care Act have been reversed. 

The analysis shows the steady increase in children losing health insurance began during 2017, long before the pandemic, as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollment began to decline and previous gains in coverage that children made as a consequence of the Affordable Care Act’s major coverage expansions was eliminated. It is estimated that as many as 300,000 more children may be uninsured due to the pandemic. The growth of uninsured children between 2016 and 2019 hit at least 29 states with the share of the nation’s uninsured children varying across each region, including:

  • 17.4 percent in the Midwest
  • 9.1 percent in the Northeast
  • 52.7 percent in the South
  • 20.8 percent in the West

While this analysis shows Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate significantly lower than the national rate, a May 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation analysis estimated that 1.5 million Pennsylvanians potentially could become uninsured, and that:

  • An estimated 6.1 million children are losing coverage
  • 16.8 million people will be eligible for Medicaid by January 2021

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services recently reminded Pennsylvanians who experience certain major life changes, including the loss of employer-based health care coverage in conjunction with a job loss, that they have options.

Pennsylvania on September 22, 2020, debuted its new state-based insurance marketplace, Pennie.com, for residents who want to buy individual health coverage. Open enrollment through Pennie begins November 1, 2020, and runs through January 15, 2021.

Information about Special Enrollment Periods is available at the PID website and at HealthCare.gov.

For more information, contact Jolene Calla Esq., HAP’s vice president, health care finance and insurance.