For the First Time in Years, More Parents Are Without Health Insurance

Posted January 20, 2021
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Update parentswithouthealthinsurance 2021

Data released last fall revealed that the per­cent­age of chil­dren with­out health insur­ance in the Unit­ed States had risen between 2018 and 2019. We now know that the share and num­ber of par­ents with­out cov­er­age also increased.

Accord­ing to an analy­sis of Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ty Sur­vey data by the Pop­u­la­tion Ref­er­ence Bureau, the num­ber of par­ents with­out insur­ance jumped by more than 200,000 from 2018 to 2019 and the per­cent­age moved from 11% to 12%, the first such increase since 2010, just before the imple­men­ta­tion of the Afford­able Care Act.

In 2019, 6.8 mil­lion par­ents — that is, peo­ple who live with at least one of their own chil­dren under age 18 — lacked insur­ance cov­er­age. These data reflect con­di­tions imme­di­ate­ly pri­or to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Direct­ly com­pa­ra­ble data from the pan­dem­ic peri­od are not avail­able, although the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau’s House­hold Pulse Sur­vey is ask­ing adults with and with­out chil­dren in their house­holds about their health insur­ance status.

Among the states, Texas had by far the high­est per­cent­age of par­ents with­out health insur­ance in 2019 (25%), fol­lowed by Okla­homa (19%) and Flori­da and Mis­sis­sip­pi (both 17%). Mass­a­chu­setts (3%) had the low­est per­cent­age, a fig­ure matched by the Dis­trict of Columbia.

Chil­dren are more like­ly to be unin­sured if their par­ents are with­out coverage.

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