Study finds children of the poor less likely to be insured

In an health study with significant implications for women, researchers at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center of the University of Minnesota looked at inequities in health coverage between high- and low-income families. The report, “Whose Kids Are Covered? A State-by-State Look at Uninsured Children,” found that only 47 percent of parents in families earning less than $40,000 annually have employer-provided health insurance, versus 78 percent of parents in families earning $80,000 a year or more.

Other findings of the report:

• In the past decade, employers’ offers of health insurance to lower-income parents have fallen three times as fast as offers to higher-income parents.

• 75 percent of uninsured children in the U.S. live with someone who works full time.

This study is of particular relevance to the many women, young and old, who head single-parent households – single parents who, living paycheck to paycheck, fall into the category of the working poor, those households with annual incomes beneath the federally set poverty line. (The complex socioeconomic reasons for all this include, but are not limited to, the difficulty/impossibility many women face when attempting to collect child support and/or alimony from their ex-husbands and/or fathers of those children; the fact that often the primary and often sole responsibilities and expenses for childcare fall to the woman / mother / grandmother rather than to the man / father / son-in-law; the fact that minimum-wage and/or extremely low-paying hourly work is vastly more attainable for women than are middle- or upper-level professional jobs; and the sad and rather astounding fact that still, even in this 21st-century, American women on average earn only 76.2 cents for every dollar that men make. This is actually a slightly optimistic distortion of the pay inequities between men and women in the U.S.; when race as well as gender is factored in, the latest data indicates that African-American women earn just 63 cents for every dollar earned by white men, while Hispanic women earn only 53 cents for every dollar that white men take in.

For more details about the Robert Wood Johnson-funded University of Minnesota study, see Philanthropy News Digest