Vanderbilt study shows rate of uninsured children in Tennessee is back to pre-pandemic levels

Posted at 6:19 AM, Feb 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-23 07:41:03-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Encouraging news in this year's Vanderbilt Child Health Poll, which shows the rate of uninsured children is back to pre-pandemic levels.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of uninsured children more than doubled as Tennesseans faced the highest spike in unemployment since the Great Depression.

That rate got up to 9% in 2020, and now it is back to being just under 4%.

This year's poll surveyed more than 1,000 parents. More than half said their children were insured through private or employer-based insurance and about 46% said they were covered by TennCare or CoverKids, which is the state's Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance options.

According to the director of the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy, Tennessee usually has one of the lowest rates of uninsured children in the U.S.

However, there are still concerns that health officials are anticipating — for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the state will begin to re-evaluate the eligibility of people covered by TennCare and CoverKids this spring, which means thousands of children across the state could lose coverage.

Also, according to the poll, the top five concerns for parents are education quality, child mental health, bullying, school gun violence, and drug and alcohol use.