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Inquiry. 2003 Fall;40(3):254-68.

The effect of parents' insurance coverage on access to care for low-income children.

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Urban Institute, Washington DC 20037, USA.


This study examines the effects of having an uninsured parent on access to health care for low-income children. Using data from the 1999 National Survey of America's Families, we find that having an uninsured parent decreases the likelihood that a child will have any medical provider visit by 6.5 percentage points, and decreases the likelihood of a well-child visit by 6.7 percentage points. Estimates for low-income children who have insurance but have an uninsured parent indicate a 4.1 percentage-point reduction in the probability of having any medical provider visit, and a similar 4.2 percentage-point reduction in the probability of having a well-child visit relative to those with insured parents. The effects of having an uninsured parent are smaller in magnitude than the effects of a child being uninsured. Efforts to increase insurance coverage of parents, either by extending eligibility for public insurance or through other policy interventions, will have positive spillover effects on access to care for children. Although the magnitude of these effects is small relative to the direct effect of providing insurance to either the child or parent, they should be considered in analyses of costs and benefits of proposed policies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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