New Georgetown University Report Examines Latino Child Health Coverage Gap
Nearly all Latino children in the U.S. are citizens yet they lag considerably behind other children in their health coverage rates, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families that examines health coverage trends by state and detailed ethnicity.
As the overall child uninsured rate started going in the wrong direction between 2016 and 2019, Latino children were disproportionately affected, widening the long-standing coverage disparity after years of progress. As of 2019, there is an almost 5 percentage point gap between the uninsured rate for non-Latino and Latino children nationwide (4.4 percent versus 9.3 percent, respectively).
Between 2016 and 2019, South Carolina saw the largest jump in the uninsured rate for Latino kids, rising 6.8 percentage points from 8.5 percent to 15.3 percent. California and Texas are home to the largest numbers of Latino children (4.89 million and 3.87 million, respectively) but Latino children in Texas are almost four times more likely to be uninsured compared to their peers in California.
“In order to get back on track, policymakers must pinpoint the barriers to health coverage that Latino children face and identify strategies to address them,” said Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy Associate Professor Kelly Whitener, lead author of the report. “State policymakers have an especially important role to play as they make policy choices that either hinder or help Latino children gain access to affordable health coverage.”
The report also disaggregated the data by detailed ethnicity and found that almost a quarter of U.S. children of Honduran descent are uninsured, approximately 8.8 percent of Nicaraguan children are uninsured, and only 3.3 percent of children of Spanish descent are uninsured.
“Looking at the data through the lens of detailed demographics and state residency helps illuminate the challenges that families face in accessing health coverage and can inform targeted outreach and enrollment efforts to help ensure that all children get the care they need to grow and thrive,” said Alexandra Corcoran, a Georgetown University CCF research associate and co-author of the report.