Tracking Changes in Eligibility and Coverage Among Children, 1996-2002
Data from the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) reveal that 4.7 million children were eligible for Medicaid but were uninsured. Numerous changes have occurred in the landscape for children's health insurance since then, including welfare reform and implementation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This paper uses data from the 1996-2002 MEPS to track changes in the eligibility and coverage of children. As of 2002, uninsurance among children remained as much a problem of participation as one of eligibility. Nevertheless, it finds evidence of dramatic improvements in program participation, reflecting the success of efforts to improve outreach, simplify enrollment, and increase retention.