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The State of Children’s Health Insurance

December 27, 2023

Pennsylvania had a setback during the last year of the pandemic, as the number of children with health insurance declined ahead of the unwinding of Medicaid’s continuous coverage provision.

A new report from the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children included a call to action to ensure all children have access to the care they need to live healthy lives.\

“We expected 2022—the last full year of the pandemic and the Medicaid disenrollment freeze that came with it—to reflect at least stable coverage or even gains in connecting kids to health insurance,” Kari King, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, said in a statement. “However, 145,000 Pennsylvania children are without health insurance. They could fill every seat in Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, plus an additional 39,000 kids in the parking lot.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Fewer insured children:  Even with continuous Medicaid enrollment, the rate of children without health insurance in Pennsylvania went from 4.4 percent to 5.2 percent during 2022.
    • Pennsylvania has the fifth most (145,000) uninsured children in the nation.
  • Trends:  Uninsured rates rose significantly for children under 6 (4.6% in 2021 to 5.6% in 2022) and school age children (4.4% in 2021 to 5% in 2022).
  • Looking ahead:  The unwinding of the Medicaid continuous coverage provision and changes to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility process are likely to affect the number of children who have health coverage.
  • Recommendations:  The advocacy group recommended restoring Medicaid coverage for children affected by incorrect eligibility decisions this year and supporting multi-year continuous eligibility for children from birth to kindergarten.
  • Quotable:  “It has been a challenging time for children’s health coverage. Pennsylvania is moving in the wrong direction ensuring children have coverage to meet their health care needs,” the report concludes.

Learn more about  insurance options on CHIP, Medicaid, and Pennie. The report from the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is available to review online. Fact sheets by county also are available.