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Matern Child Health J. 2013 Nov;17(9):1550-8. doi: 10.1007/s10995-012-1142-4.

Trends in health insurance status of US children and their parents, 1998-2008.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, 3181 Sam Jackson Rd, Mail Code FM, Portland, OR, 97239, USA,


In the United States (US), a parent's health insurance status affects their children's access to health care making it critically important to examine trends in coverage for both children and parents. To gain a better understanding of these health insurance trends, we assessed the coverage status for both children and their parents over an 11-year time period (1998-2008). We conducted secondary analysis of data from the nationally-representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. We examined frequency distributions for full-year child/parent insurance coverage status by family income, conducted Chi-square tests of association to assess significant differences over time, and explored factors associated with full-year insurance coverage status in 1998 and in 2008 using logistic regression. When considering all income groups together, the group with both child and parent insured decreased from 72.4 % in 1998 to 67.2 % in 2008. When stratified by income, the percentage of families with an insured child, but an uninsured parent increased for low-income families from 12.4 to 25.1 % and from 3.8 to 7.1 % for middle-income families when comparing 1998-2008. In regression analyses, family income remained the strongest characteristic associated with a lack of full-year health insurance. As future policy reforms take shape, it will be important to look beyond children's coverage patterns to assess whether gains have been made in overall family coverage.

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