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Differential Effect of the State Children's Health Insurance Program Expansions by Children's Age

Research Objective. This paper tests for differences in the effect of State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) on children's insurance coverage and physician visits across three age groups: pre-elementary school-aged children (pre-ESA), ESA children, and post-ESA children.

Data Source. The study uses two cross sections of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) from the 1996 and 2001 panels.

Study Design. A difference-in-differences approach is used to estimate the effect of SCHIP on coverage and physician visits of newly eligible children of different age groups.

Data Collection. Demographic, insurance, and physician visit information for children in families with income below 300 percent of federal poverty line were extracted from the SIPP.

Principal Findings. Uninsurance rates for post-ESA children declined due to SCHIP while public coverage and the likelihood of visiting a physician increased. Estimates of cross-age differences show that post-ESA children experienced a larger decline in uninsurance rates compared with pre-ESA and ESA children and a larger increase in physician visits compared with ESA children.

Conclusions. The higher rate of physician visits for post-ESA children due to SCHIP demonstrates the importance of extending insurance coverage to teens as well as young children.

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