Let’s Keep Moving Forward: The ACA’s Impact on Children’s Health Coverage

22 November 2016 Written by  

Over the next few months, we’ll hear a lot about health coverage. Terms like insurance mandates, marketplace, risk pools—among others—will be used frequently. We’ll continue to update Speaking of Kids’ readers on what this means for children and families in Utah. But it is important to understand the broader picture and what is at stake: that is, the ability of children, families and individuals to achieve their optimal health.everyone needs health insurance1Health insurance coverage is not a guarantee that someone will be healthy. There is a lot that goes into someone’s overall health including family medical history, access to quality care, environment, socioeconomic status and social conditions.

But without insurance coverage, we cannot make progress and create a place where all children, families and individuals can be healthy and thrive.

For more information, see Why Health Insurance is Important
There is a lot of discussion and media attention about ‘repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act’ right now. As details about different proposals emerge, let’s consider how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has affected Utah children and families to date.*

  • Today almost 38,000 Utah children have coverage in the ACA health insurance marketplace. These are children at risk of becoming uninsured if the ACA is repealed.
  • 23% of all Utahns receiving coverage in the ACA health insurance exchange are under 18, compared to 9% nationally. Utah has one of the highest rates of children in the ACA marketplace.
  • The vast majority—87%—of Utahns in the ACA marketplace receive subsidies.
  • Utah has many young families in the ACA marketplace. Over half of all Utahns in the ACA marketplace are under 34.
  • Due to the provisions of the ACA, Utah recently saw a significant decline in its overall uninsured rate. Since 2011, Utah’s child uninsured rate has dropped from 11% to 7%. See our recent report to learn more about Utah’s declining uninsured rates: 
    There Are 20,000 Fewer Uninsured Kids in Utah, Thanks to the Affordable Care Act

We have made substantial progress in the last few years toward helping more children and families get health insurance coverage. Moreover, the ACA established essential health benefits that all plans must cover, including prenatal care and pediatric services. It is critically important that we not lose the gains we have made for children and families in Utah. A repeal of the ACA puts children and families’ health coverage and benefits at risk.

Contact Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and tell him to protect the ACA and affordable, comprehensive health coverage for Utahns. Utah children and families’ health depends on it.

Contact Senator Hatch

*Thank you to our friends at the Utah Health Policy Project (UHPP) for sharing these data on Utah’s health insurance exchange. For more information visit UHPP.


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

JessieJessie Mandle, Senior Health Policy Analyst, joined the organization in 2015. Prior to joining Voices for Utah Children, Jessie was a Senior Program Planner with the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, where she focused on nutrition and Out of School Time areas. Jessie also worked as a policy researcher in Johannesburg, South Africa and oversaw a CDC grant for Multnomah County Aging and Disability Services in Portland, Oregon. Most recently, she worked with the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Cancer Action Network. Jessie has a Master's degree in Public Heath from Portland State University and a B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.