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

Inquiry. Fall 2003;40(3):254-68. doi: 10.5034/inquiryjrnl_40.3.254.

Abstract

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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / economics
  • Adolescent Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / economics
  • Child Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continuity of Patient Care / economics
  • Continuity of Patient Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Medical Assistance / statistics & numerical data
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parents*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • United States