Uninsured but eligible children: Are their parents insured? Recent findings from Oregon

Jennifer E. DeVoe, Lisa Krois, Christine Edlund, Jeanene Smith, Nichole E. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Despite expansions in public health insurance programs, millions of US children lack coverage. Nearly two-thirds of Oregonĝ€ ™s uninsured children seem to be eligible for public insurance. Objectives: We sought to identify uninsured but eligible children and to examine how parental coverage affects childrenĝ€™s insurance status. Methods: We collected primary data from families enrolled in Oregonĝ€™s food stamp program, which has similar eligibility requirements to public health insurance in Oregon. In this cross-sectional, multivariable analysis, results from 2861 surveys were weighted back to a population of 84,087 with nonresponse adjustment. Key predictor variables were parental insurance status and type of insurance; the outcome variable was childrenĝ€™s insurance status. Results: Nearly 11% of children, presumed eligible for public insurance, were uninsured. Uninsurance among children was associated with being Hispanic, having an employed parent, and higher household earnings (133ĝ€"185% of the federal poverty level). Children with an uninsured parent were more likely to be uninsured, compared with those who had insured parents (adjusted odds ratio 14.21, 95% confidence interval 9.23ĝ€"20.34). More surprisingly, there was a higher rate of uninsured children among privately-insured parents, compared with parents covered by public insurance (adjusted odds ratio 4.39, 95% confidence interval 2.00ĝ€"9.66). Conclusions: Low-income Oregon parents at the higher end of the public insurance income threshold and those with private insurance were having the most difficulty keeping their children insured. These findings suggest that when parents succeed in pulling themselves out of poverty and gaining employment with private health insurance coverage, children may be getting left behind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalMedical care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Children's healthcare
  • Healthcare access
  • Insurance coverage
  • Medicaid
  • Primary healthcare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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