Public health insurance in Oregon: underenrollment of eligible children and parental confusion about children's enrollment status

Am J Public Health. 2011 May;101(5):891-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.196345. Epub 2011 Mar 18.


Objectives: We identified characteristics of Oregon children who were eligible for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), the state's combined Medicaid-Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but were not enrolled in January 2005. We also assessed whether parents' confusion regarding their children's status affected nonenrollment.

Methods: We conducted cross-sectional analyses of linked statewide Food Stamp Program and OHP administrative databases (n = 10 175) and primary data from a statewide survey (n = 2681).

Results: More than 20% of parents with children not administratively enrolled in OHP reported that their children were enrolled. Parents of 11.3% of children who were administratively enrolled reported that they were not. Eligible but unenrolled children had higher odds of being older, having higher family incomes, and having employed and uninsured parents.

Conclusions: These findings reveal an important discrepancy between administrative data and parent-reported access to public health insurance. This discrepancy may stem from transient coverage or confusion among parents and may result in underutilization of health insurance for eligible children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection
  • Eligibility Determination
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Infant
  • Insurance, Health* / organization & administration
  • Insurance, Health* / statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Medicaid
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oregon
  • Parents
  • Public Policy
  • State Government
  • United States