Effects of Medicaid Automatic Enrollment on Disparities in Insurance Coverage and Caregiver Burden for Children with Special Health Care Needs

Published in: Medical Care Research and Review (2022). doi: 10.1177%2F10775587221106116

Posted on RAND.org on August 23, 2022

by Stephanie Rennane, Andrew W. Dick

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We analyze how Medicaid automatic enrollment policies for children with special health care needs (CSHCN) who are enrolled in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) reduce disparities in health insurance coverage and caregiving burden. Using the 2009–2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, we implement a difference-in-differences regression model comparing insurance enrollment rates between CSHCN receiving SSI and CSHCN not receiving SSI, in states with and without automatic enrollment policies. We find that Medicaid automatic enrollment has a meaningful impact on insurance enrollment for low-income CSHCN who participate in SSI and can be an effective method for mitigating disparities in insurance coverage (reducing uninsurance by 38%). Medicaid automatic enrollment also reduces caregiver burden among socioeconomically disadvantaged families with CSHCN. The effects of these policies are largest families who might be on the margin of eligibility or who face high administrative burden.

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