January 23, 2023 PPC Annual Health Care Report Released Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) has released its annual health care report, “State of Children’s Health.” The 2022 report shows a slight improvement in the child uninsured rate, increasing from 4.4% to 4.6% during the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase is a result of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s continuous coverage provision that prevents states from disenrolling children and families from Medicaid during the public health emergency. About PPC analyzed the most recent Census data to determine the role of Medicaid and other public health insurance programs in providing children and families with comprehensive health coverage and uninterrupted care during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Summary of Findings State Findings Pennsylvania has the eighth highest number of uninsured children in the nation. Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate remains lower than the national average of 5.4%. However, all neighboring states, other than Ohio, have better rates than Pennsylvania. The rate of Pennsylvania children without health insurance decreased slightly between 2019 and 2021, from 4.6% to 4.4%. An important reason for these slight gains is the disenrollment freeze in Medicaid that has been in place during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The uninsured rates improved in 38 counties and worsened in 29 counties over the last two years. The counties with the most significant improvement in lowering uninsured rates were Carbon, Dauphin, Monroe, Westmoreland, and Wyoming. The counties with significantly worse rates than two years ago were Erie, Clinton, Fayette, Franklin, and Somerset. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicaid enrollment increased by 20%. More than 1.4 million Pennsylvania children currently have Medicaid for their health insurance. Publicly funded or supported healthcare options account for providing health insurance to 47% of children in Pennsylvania, up from 46% last year. About two-thirds of children in Pennsylvania live in families that qualify for free or reduced public health insurance or financial assistance through Pennie™. Disproportionality in Coverage Not all children have experienced equal access to health insurance over the last two years. Hispanic or Latino children, children who identified as Some Other Race, and children who identified as Two or More Races have worse insurance rates now than in 2019. American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black, and White children have better rates. The uninsured rate for Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander children remained unchanged. In Pennsylvania, Hispanic or Latino children and children who identified as Some Other Race had a disproportionately higher uninsured rate in 2021 than their rate in the general population. American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black, and White children were not disproportionately uninsured compared to the general population. Children living in families with lower incomes are more likely to go without health insurance and 6.5% of children living in Pennsylvania who are financially eligible for Medicaid are uninsured. PPC Recommendations Reaffirm commitment to using a 12-month unwinding period, as recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Immediately expand the 12-month continuous eligibility policy to children ages 4 through 21 in Medicaid when the public health emergency ends. Learn More To learn more, read the full report.