Children’s Uninsured Rate Varies Five-Fold Across Kansas Counties

3 Min Read

Dec 05, 2018

By

Hina B. Shah, M.P.H.,

Madison Hoover, M.S.,

Wen-Chieh Lin, Ph.D.
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Introduction

Earlier this year, the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2016 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) providing county-level uninsured rates. This fact sheet focuses on the latest available data for Kansas children age 0-18 by county. While the 2017 statewide uninsured rate was published in a September 2018 KHI press release (bit.ly/KansasInsurance), the more-detailed data presented in this fact sheet is one year older due to when the Census Bureau releases it.

In 2016, the overall uninsured rate among Kansas children age 0-18 reached an all-time low of 4.5 percent (33,332 uninsured children), a drop by nearly half since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (from 8.6 percent in 2009 to 4.5 percent in 2016; a 47.7 percent drop). While health insurance coverage for Kansas children overall has improved over the last decade, the progress varies by county. This fact sheet provides county-specific uninsured rates for children in 2016 (Figure 1, above), as well as changes in uninsured rates between 2009 and 2016 for each Kansas county (Figure 2).

Map of Kansas showing Kansas children percent drop in uninsured rate by county refer to the data on this page for specific details.

2016 Uninsured Rate by County

    • In 2016, the overall uninsured rate among Kansas children age 0-18 reached an all-time low of 4.5 percent (33,332 uninsured children).
    • There was a nearly five-fold difference between the highest and lowest county uninsured rate for children in 2016: 13.6 percent in Hamilton County and 2.9 percent in Johnson County.
    • Children in western counties were more likely to be uninsured than in other parts of Kansas.
    • While uninsured rates were relatively low in the five largest counties ­— Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte — nearly half (47.1 percent, or 15,688) of uninsured children lived in these counties.

Change in Uninsured Rate by County Between 2009 and 2016

Figure 2 indicates the magnitude of change in the uninsured rate from 2009 to 2016 for each county.

    • Between 2009 and 2016, Wallace County had the largest drop in the uninsured rate for children (62.7 percent), while Sheridan County had the smallest drop (9.6 percent).
    • No easily detected geographic pattern was found in the magnitude of change in uninsured rates.

Conclusion

While the overall uninsured rate has improved for children living in each Kansas county, wide differences remain. The variation between counties and regions might be driven by parents’ employment, demographic makeup and the level of awareness of public insurance options available through Medicaid/CHIP in Kansas as the ACA was implemented. The state could consider targeted enrollment through increased outreach and other efforts to help reduce the disparities.

Technical Note

The U.S. Census Bureau Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) is the only data source for county-specific, single-year estimates for health insurance coverage (census.gov/programs-surveys/sahie/about.html). SAHIE estimates for health insurance coverage at the state level could differ slightly from those derived from other data sources because of differences in methodology.

About Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.

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