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Demographics of Disenrollment from SCHIP: Evidence from NJ KidCare

Date of Publication
February, 2004
Publication Type
Journal Article
Focus Area
Paid Access
DOI Entry
Citation (AMA)
The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) provides health insurance coverage for children in low-income families. Although there is evidence of substantial disenrollment from SCHIP, few studies have examined how disenrollment varies by demographic characteristics. This study uses data from administrative records of all 41,881 children enrolled prior to April 2000 in NJ KidCare (New Jersey's SCHIP) separate state plans for families with incomes between 133% and 350% of the Federal Poverty Level. Survival methods were used to analyze disenrollment according to demographic and plan characteristics. Reasons for disenrollment were also studied. Overall, 18.9% of children disenrolled within 12 months of enrollment. Disenrollment was higher among non-Hispanic black children, children aged 1 to 5, and children without siblings in NJ KidCare than among their counterparts. Surprisingly, English speakers had the highest disenrollment rate of all language groups. Children in families with moderate income categories for whom premium contributions were required were 3 times as likely as lower-income children to disenroll, principally due to non-payment of premiums. To maximize retention in SCHIP and ensure access to care and continuity of care for low-income children, research is needed concerning why some groups disenroll more quickly.