The child support system has been increasing its efforts to make health insurance a part of child support awards. Data from the 1990 Current Population Survey Child Support Supplement show that 40 percent of child support awards require that the noncustodial parent provide health insurance to his children. However, in a third of the cases, the noncustodial parents are not providing coverage. This matters because 16 percent of the children whose noncustodial fathers are not providing the coverage they were ordered to provide are not insured through other sources (e.g., Medicaid). But expecting noncustodial parents to be the sole providers of health insurance for their children may be unwise. Data from Wisconsin suggest that fewer than half (and probably less than 10 percent) of uninsured children in custodial- parent families have a noncustodial parent who can afford to provide health insurance for them. Health care reform is needed so that all children will have coverage, whether it is provided by their parents or the government.
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