25,000 Uninsured, KanCare-Eligible Children: Where Are They?

This fact sheet is the third of a three-part series examining the geographic variation in health insurance coverage for Kansans.

3 Min Read

Oct 18, 2019

By

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

Madison Hoover, M.S.

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Key points

    • Half (52.7 percent) of Kansas children enrolled in KanCare lived in one of the five most populous counties (Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte). However, the percentage of children enrolled in KanCare also was high in the southeast and southwest regions.
    • An estimated 37,982 children in Kansas were uninsured in 2017, and 25,436 (67.0 percent) of them might have been eligible for KanCare but were not enrolled.
    • Many counties in western Kansas had a significantly higher uninsured rate among children likely eligible for KanCare than the statewide rate (7.2 percent).

Introduction

Public health insurance through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a key source of coverage for children age 0-18 in Kansas. These programs are administered at the state level through KanCare. In 2017, Medicaid or CHIP was available for children living in low-income families that earned less than 241 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL; $59,286 for a family of four in 2017). This fact sheet provides data on where Kansas children enrolled in KanCare in 2017 lived (Figure 1) and examines where uninsured children likely eligible for KanCare but not enrolled lived (Figure 2).

Map of Kansas showing Kansas children percent and number enrolled in KanCare by county and by region. Southeast show the highest percentage of children enrolled.

Medicaid/CHIP Enrollment by County in 2017

Using data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, there were 276,562 (37.5 percent) Kansas children enrolled in KanCare in 2017 (Figure 1).

Half (52.7 percent) of Kansas children enrolled in KanCare lived in one of the five most populous counties (Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte). However, the percentage of children enrolled in KanCare also was high in the southeast and southwest regions.

Map of Kansas showing Kansas children likely eligible for KanCare Uninsured rate and number by county and by region. Southwest region showing the highest percentage of uninsured rates.

Likely Eligible, but Uninsured

An estimated 37,982 children in Kansas were uninsured in 2017, and 25,436 (67.0 percent) of them might have been eligible for KanCare but were not enrolled (Figure 2).

Many counties in western Kansas had a significantly higher uninsured rate among children likely eligible for KanCare than the statewide rate (7.2 percent). The highest uninsured rate (23.4 percent) was in Sheridan County, representing 89 children. The northwest region of Kansas as a whole had a rate of 9.7 percent, representing 1,512 children. The southwest region had a rate of 9.9 percent, representing 3,140 children.

The uninsured rate for KanCare-eligible children generally was not as high in more populous areas of the state. However, nearly half (47.7 percent) of uninsured children likely eligible for KanCare lived in one of the five most populous counties — Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte — representing 12,134 children.

Conclusion

Reaching children and families who are eligible for KanCare could be particularly challenging in rural areas of the state. Partnering with local organizations is an important strategy to facilitate enrollment.

Technical Note

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) data is the only data source for single-year county-specific estimates for health insurance coverage (http://www.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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