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Millions of American Children Still Uninsured and Face Barriers to Care
Press Release Date: March 9, 1998
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) today released a new sourcebook on
data about children's health. The data in Children's Health 1996 highlights findings from
AHCPR's 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
"This publication allows policymakers, advocacy groups, or anyone with an interest in children's
health to understand quickly many important aspects of our children's health data," said AHCPR
Administrator John M. Eisenberg, M.D. Dr. Eisenberg said that chartbooks highlighting other
aspects of MEPS data are planned.
The chartbook is split into three sections which provide information on children's health status,
access to care, and health insurance status. The information is presented in an uncomplicated
way, using a question and answer style and many pie charts and bar graphs to communicate
current data on children's health.
Significant findings on children's health included in the chartbook are:
- In 1996, nearly 11 million children were uninsured.
- About 90 percent of all uninsured children lived in households with at least one working adult.
- 52.8 percent of children insured through Medicaid are living in households with at least one
- At least 3.3 million American children under age 13, and more than 1 million age 13 and
over, are eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled.
- Of families who said they did not receive needed health care, 60 percent said they did not get
care because they could not afford it.
- Children aged 13-17 years are nearly three times less likely to have a usual source of
health care, compared with children aged 5 and under.
- Children in fair or poor health were as likely as children in excellent health to be covered
by some form of health insurance. However, 41.8 percent of children in fair or poor health were
covered by a public health insurance program, while only 15.1 percent of children in excellent
health had public insurance.
- Hispanic children are more likely than black or white children to be uninsured (27.7 percent of
Hispanic children, compared with 17.6 percent of black children, and 12.3 percent of white children).
- Hispanic children are more likely than black or white children to be in fair or poor health
(7.8 percent of Hispanic children, compared with 4.2 percent of black children and 2.9 percent of white
Print copies of Children's Health 1996 (Publication Number 98-0008) are available through the AHCPR
Publications Clearinghouse by calling 800-358-9295 or by writing to Children's Health 1996, P.O.
Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD, 20907. The online version is available online at http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/cb1/cb1.shtml.
For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Karen Carp, (301) 427-1858
(KCarp@ahrq.gov); Salina V. Prasad, (301) 427-1864 (SPrasad@ahrq.gov).
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