As employer-sponsored insurance becomes more expensive for children, public programs are picking up the slack.
The Medicaid Expansion, which was responsible for a large part of the reduction in uninsurance in the United States over the last few years, was mostly aimed at adults. This is because Medicaid has traditionally covered nearly all children in poverty for some time. The CHIP program has bolstered that coverage, so that uninsurance in children fell steadily in the 1990’s and well into the 21st century.
The passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) assured that CHIP coverage would continue for some time. But even before that, trouble was brewing with respect to the coverage of children. These troubles were not in the Medicaid program, though. Issues were arising in the employer-sponsored insurance market.
As I’ve written about in many posts here before, the cost of employer-sponsored insurance has been rising quite steadily for some time. Further, the out-of-pocket costs for such insurance have also been increasing. Deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance – not to mention premiums – can put the cost of insurance out of reach for many employees even when it is “offered” as a benefit from their job. The costs of insurance have outpaced both income and wages for more than a decade, meaning that more and more must come out of employee’s pockets if they want to maintain coverage for themselves and their children.