Effect of Child Health Insurance Plan enrollment on the utilization of health care services by children using a public safety net system

Pediatrics. 2002 Nov;110(5):940-5. doi: 10.1542/peds.110.5.940.


Objective: To examine differences in health care services utilization between children who are enrolled in the Child Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) and uninsured children and between children before and during their enrollment period in CHIP.

Methods: Denver County CHIP enrollment data from 1998 through 2000 were merged with Denver Health utilization data from 1998 through 2000 to determine utilization rates for CHIP-enrolled children at Denver Health (n = 2005). The first method compared the rates of CHIP-enrolled children with those of uninsured children (n = 20 374) during the same time period. The second method compared the utilization of services for children enrolled in CHIP during 1999 before CHIP enrollment (n = 748) and during CHIP enrollment (n = 757). The outcomes measured include emergency, urgent care, specialty care, well-child care, dental visits, and immunizations.

Results: For the first method, CHIP children were more likely to have well-child care, dental, and specialty visits and the recommended immunizations than uninsured children. They were less likely to have an emergency care visit than uninsured children. For the second method, before enrolling in CHIP, children had fewer outpatient visits and were less likely to have a well-child care visit than during their enrollment span in CHIP. There was not a significant difference before and during enrollment for the other outcome measures for these children.

Conclusions: These results indicate that children who are enrolled in CHIP are more likely to receive preventive care services and less likely to use emergency care than uninsured children, even within a safety net institution, emphasizing the benefits of public insurance programs for children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Welfare / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Colorado
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance, Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Male
  • Medical Indigency
  • Medically Uninsured / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data
  • Program Evaluation