Hispanic Children’s Uninsured Rate Hits Record Low

The rate of Hispanic children without health insurance fell to a historic low in 2014, the first year that key parts of Obamacare took effect, but they still represent a disproportionate share of the nation’s uninsured youth, according to a new study.

About 300,000 Hispanic children gained insurance in 2014 from 2013, dropping the number of uninsured to 1.7 million, researchers said. Their uninsured rate fell to 9.7 percent, almost 2 percentage points below the year before. The rate for all U.S. children fell to 6.0 percent from 7.1 percent.

The report released Friday was co-authored by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families and the National Council of La Raza, a civil rights and advocacy group for Hispanic Americans.

One reason for the improvement, researchers said, is that the Affordable Care Act produced opportunities for Hispanic adults to get health coverage, such as providing premium subsidies for buying health insurance in federal and state marketplaces and expanding Medicaid programs in many states. When parents enrolled, they generally signed up their children, too.

States that extended Medicaid to low-income adults had an average 7 percent uninsured rate for Hispanic children, about half the average 13.7 percent uninsured rate of states that did not expand Medicaid.

Twenty states had rates of uninsured Hispanic children that were lower than the national average in 2014, the Georgetown-La Raza report said.

Still, Hispanic children made up 39.5 percent of the nation’s uninsured children in 2014, but only 24.4 percent of the overall child population under 18, according to the report.

Other findings:

– Of 10 states with the largest populations of Hispanic children, California, New York, Illinois and New Jersey were the only ones with uninsured rates below the 9.7 percent national average for 2014. New York’s was 3.8 percent; Illinois, 4.5 percent; California, 6.8 percent; and New Jersey, 7.0 percent.

– Four other states in that top 10 group had the highest rates of uninsured Hispanic children. Georgia and Texas were at 15.3 percent; Arizona, 12.7 percent; and Florida, 12.1 percent.

– Colorado and North Carolina, the other two states in the top 10, posted uninsured rates of 9.6 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively. Those were not statistically different from the national average, the report said.

– Two-thirds of the nation’s uninsured Hispanic children lived in Texas, California, Florida, Arizona and Georgia in 2014.

– In Texas, 15.3 percent of Hispanic children were uninsured in 2014, representing 30.6 percent of all uninsured Hispanic children in the U.S.

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