The health insurance coverage for US children has fallen steadily over the years. Nearly one-fourth of parents do not carry health insurance coverage for their children. Researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens, USA studied whether parents' decision to carry health insurance for their children varies by race/ethnicity or immigration status.
The researchers used the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) that contain detailed information of 12,686 respondents. The children's health insurance coverage, immigration status, socio-economic and demographic information were analyzed.
‘Programs that focus on educating families on the importance of health insurance might be necessary to make it mandatory for parents to carry health insurance coverage for themselves and their children.’
The findings showed that children of immigrant parents had a lower percentage of insurance coverage (70%) compared with the children of the native-born US parents (75%). Children of white parents had a higher percentage of health insurance coverage (79%).
Hispanic and black parents were less likely to have private health insurance coverage and more likely to have public health insurance coverage for their children.
Some of the factors such as education, poverty, and status as a single parent were found to have an impact on the child's health insurance coverage.
The study found that children were more likely to be uninsured when their parents had lower educational attainment. Only 38% of the parents with education lower than high school reported health insurance coverage for their children. Whereas parents with educational attainment of college reported more than 90% of health insurance coverage for their children.
Health insurance coverage was highest among children of married parents (80%) and lowest among children of single parents (62%). The children of parents who lived in poverty had only 58 percent of health insurance coverage.
The study titled "Children's health insurance coverage in the United States: The role of parents' ethnicity and immigration status" is published in the journal Theoretical and Applied Economics.