More Children are Losing Medicaid Coverage as Child Poverty Grows – KFF

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Children’s Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment declined by 5.5%, or 2.3 million children, from March 2023, before the unwinding began, to September 2023, according to KFF’s latest analysis. Across all 50 states and DC, at least 14,377,000 people were disenrolled from Medicaid between April 1 and January 9, 2024.

Medicaid eligibility levels are higher for children, raising concerns that they may be losing coverage and becoming uninsured despite remaining eligible. Medicaid covers 8 in 10 children living in poverty and over half of Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AIAN) children.

The loss of Medicaid could worsen economic stress for many families. Today, as household expenses remain high and most pandemic-era financial relief has ended, families with children are experiencing increased financial hardships and rising poverty rates.

Children have the highest official poverty rates of any age group. In 2022, the percentage of children ages 0-18 living in poverty was about 16%. While the official poverty measure remained stable between 2021 and 2022, the supplemental poverty rate for children more than doubled, from 5.2% in 2021 (a record low) to 12.4% in 2022 likely due in part to the expiration of expanded tax credits, including the expanded Child Tax Credit. Supplemental poverty rates were highest in 2022 for children who identify as AIAN (25.9%), Hispanic (19.5%), or Black (17.8%).

While children’s poverty rates and Medicaid coverage losses have increased, recent federal actions may help families cover expenses and maintain coverage in the future, including reports of a tentative bipartisan agreement to expand the Child Tax Credit as well as a 12-month continuous coverage requirement for children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program that started in 2024.

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