New Data Finds Number of Uninsured Children In New York Decreased between 2016 and 2019, Bucking National Trend

 Albany, NY (October 9, 2020)  Analysis of newly released Census data shows New York is the only state that saw a significant decline in the number of uninsured children from 2016-2019 (pre-COVID-19). An estimated 101,000 New York children were uninsured last year, a significant decrease of about 10% since 2016, according to a new report released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. New York’s experience bucks a national trend that left an estimated 726,000 more children without health coverage nationwide, since 2016, when our country achieved an historic low number of uninsured children.

“For decades, children’s health coverage had been a national success story that we could point to with pride, but the data nationally and across most states shows that the trend is now going in the wrong direction” said Georgetown University Center for Children and Families Executive Director Joan Alker.

New York is the only state to see a significant decline in the number of uninsured children from 2016-2019. The report also shows that in New York, the uninsured rate for Latino children, who can be of any race, was 2.3% in 2019 – four times lower than the national Latino child uninsured rate of 9.2%.

New York State has long been a leader when it comes to covering children. State leaders have worked with communities on a concerted effort to get and keep children enrolled in quality, affordable health coverage without discriminating based on where children were born.

“We’re proud of the progress New York has made and we’re intent on removing the remaining barriers to coverage so every single child in our state has health insurance and access to the care they need to grow and thrive,” said Kate Breslin, President and CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy. “Funding community-based efforts to reach families and enroll children, along with streamlining the paperwork involved, will ensure that children are continuously covered and can get access to care when they need it.”

“With Medicaid and Child Health Plus providing health insurance coverage for 35% of New York’s children under 19 and Medicaid covering nearly half of all births in the state, Medicaid matters immensely to the health of New York’s children and families. New York’s health leaders in and outside government have made covering kids a priority, including a focus on making information available in more languages and reducing the number of children who lose insurance during the year and must go through the process of re-enrolling,” according to Lara Kassel, the Coordinator of Medicaid Matters New York, the statewide coalition focused on making sure Medicaid works for the people it is designed to serve. 

“We congratulate NYS on its leadership and commitment to provide health care coverage for all children,” said Elie Ward, Director of Policy for the NYS American Academy of Pediatrics. “Our work together over many years has created a true health care safety net for millions of children across the state.  It is our hope that the significant gains we have made over the last several years are not jeopardized by the current budget challenges facing our state.  We look forward to working with New York State to maintain the gains we have made for children’s access to quality health care and to extend vital health care services to those children who still do not have coverage.”

The Schuyler Center, together with the American Academy of Pediatrics in New York State, is urging the State to ensure continuous eligibility and enrollment for children from birth to age three so these youngest New Yorkers never lose precious time receiving the services they need for healthy development.  Research shows children with health coverage are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college and grow up to be healthier and more productive adults.

This data is all pre-pandemic, so the reality today for families may be quite different. National data show worrying trends that primary, preventive, and mental health services have declined among children and while telehealth has filled some gaps, it has not offset the decline in services. Vaccinations and screenings – especially important for very young children – have declined, as have dental health services. 

This is the 10th annual report on uninsured children published by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, an independent, nonpartisan policy and research center founded in 2005 with a mission to expand and improve high-quality, affordable coverage for America’s children and families. The report analyzes single-year estimates of summary data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) from 2016 through 2019. For more information about the report, visit ccf.georgetown.edu

This press release was published by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy. Founded in 1872, the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy is an independent, nonpartisan policy and advocacy organization focused on shaping New York State policy.