Healthcare

Report: Nearly 12 percent of children in Houston are living without insurance, more than double the national average

Texas accounts for 854,000, or 22%, of all uninsured children across the U.S., according to the study.

Patients sit in a waiting area for their appointments Friday, July 7, 2023, at LBU Community Clinic.

Despite declining numbers, a recent university study found that 11.6% of children in Houston are living without insurance, more than double the national average.

The uninsured rate for children improved over the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, but the state of Texas still comes in with the highest uninsured rate in the country: 10.9% compared to the national average of just 5.1%.

After calling a public health emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government required states to keep people enrolled in Medicaid insurance without needing to re-enroll. The continuous enrollment program ended in March last year when COVID-19 conditions began to “unwind,” and states were given 12 months to return to normal eligibility operations, according to a Medicaid webpage.

“While the number of uninsured children declined over the pandemic period, these gains are unlikely to be sustained given the current Medicaid renewal process that is underway,” according to the study.

Despite that, Texas lawmakers maintain opposition to a statewide expansion of Medicaid programs.

Texas accounts for 854,000, or 22%, of all uninsured children across the U.S., according to the study, which analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Study.

There were 3.9 million uninsured children across the United States in 2022, a significant dip from the recorded 7.6 million uninsured children in 2008, according to the study. There was a 1.8% dip in uninsured children in Texas from 2019 to 2022.

North of Dallas, the Sherman-Denison Metro was on record as the highest uninsured rate for children in Texas, at 13.9%, followed by Midland, McAllen, Abilene and Beaumont metro areas.

Federal health data released earlier this month showed more than one in nine Texas residents are covered by government-subsidized health plans under the Affordable Care Act in 2024. That’s up 37% from last year’s figures, according to the Texas Tribune.

Residents in Fort Bend County have historically had the lowest uninsured rate in the Houston region. In the greater Houston area, the uninsured rate among Hispanic residents is nearly four times that of white residents, according to Understanding Houston.