Report finds improvement in number of uninsured children in Minnesota

November 22, 2013

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St. Paul, Minn. − A new Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) report found that the uninsured rate for Minnesota children fell from 2010 to 2012. The rate of uninsured Minnesota children in 2010 was 6.6 percent, or 84,165 uninsured children, and in 2012 it was 5.4 percent, or 68,145 uninsured children.

The report applauds public health care programs such as Medicaid and CHIP as the reason for the decrease in the number of uninsured children across the country and in most states from 2010 to 2012.

“Medicaid and CHIP are examples of federal-state partnership programs that work,” said Joan Alker, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “Together they have successfully driven down the uninsured rate for children to historic lows and are a testament to what states can accomplish when they lean in and work with the federal government to meet the needs of their families.”

Nearly a third of Minnesota children are covered by Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, the state’s public health care programs for children. Legislative changes to MinnesotaCare in July 2012 allowed more children to be eligible to enroll in the program.

“Interestingly, the number of children projected to be affected by the MinnesotaCare changes was 16,000 and the decrease in the number uninsured from 2010 to 2012 was nearly 16,000,” said Elaine Cunningham, Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota Outreach Director. “While we can’t show the direct correlation, we know that expanding and streamlining access to public health care programs decreases the number of uninsured children and ensures more children get the care they need.”

The number of uninsured children in Minnesota and the nation will continue to decline with the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which provides new consumer protections, financial assistance and expanded eligibility for Medicaid. In Minnesota, many children will be newly eligible for coverage under Medical Assistance and many others will be eligible for financial assistance through Advanced Premium Tax Credits available via MNsure. Yet, the majority of Minnesota children will still be covered by their parents’ employer sponsored insurance. Minnesota has one of the highest rates of employer sponsored insurance coverage in the country with nearly 60 percent of Minnesotans enrolled in employer sponsored insurance, according to the Health Economics Survey on the Uninsured.

Compared to other states, Minnesota ranked 29th in the number of uninsured children (68,145) and 22nd in the rate of uninsured children (6.6%), according to the Georgetown report.