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Nearly 12 percent (8.5 million) of children younger than 18 years of age had no insurance coverage in 2002, a proportion that has remained relatively stable since 2000.

In 2002, just over one-quarter of all children (26.8 percent) were publicly insured, primarily through Medicaid, and two-thirds were covered by private insurance. By comparison, children living in families with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level were more likely to have public insurance (63.8 percent) or be uninsured (20.7 percent). Only 21.6 percent of low-income children had private coverage.

In 2002, most uninsured children (64.7 percent) lived in families whose head was employed year-round, on a full-time basis. Even when parents are employed, coverage may not be offered or may be prohibitively expensive. Most privately insured children (88.7 percent) received insurance through a parent’s employer.

Created in response to the growing number of uninsured children in low-income working families, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has enrolled 5.8 million children through the end of Federal Fiscal Year 2003. As of 2002, children with family incomes up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) were eligible for coverage through CHIP or Medicaid in 26 States. Twelve States implemented eligibility levels exceeding 235 percent of the FPL.

Graph: Health Insurance Coverage Among Children[d]


Graph: Health Insurance Coverage Among Children in Families Below 100% FPL[d]