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September 2007

New Health Insurance Information Released

The U.S. Census Bureau released new findings from the Current Population Survey, published in an August 2007 report, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006. Once again, the data indicate a continued increase in the number of uninsured from previous years. Of particular concern is the decline in employer-based and private health insurance coverage, which may be a signal that increasing health care costs are affecting a greater proportion of the population than in previous years. Finally, 12 states experienced a statistically significant increase in their uninsured population. Only one state – West Virginia – saw a statistically significant decrease in their uninsured population.

Below are some of the major findings outlined in the report:

  • The number of people with health insurance coverage increased from 249 million in 2005 to 249.8 million in 2006.
  • The percentage and number of people without health insurance coverage increased in 2006 to 15.8 percent (47 million) from 15.3 percent (44.8 million) in 2005.
  • There was a decrease in the rate of private health insurance coverage from 68.5 percent in 2005 to 67.9 percent in 2006.
  • The percentage of people covered by employer-based health insurance for some or all of 2006 was 59.7 percent, which is statistically significantly lower than the 2005 level of 60.2 percent.
  • The percentage of full-time workers without health insurance increased in 2006 to 17.9 percent (22 million) from 17.2 percent (20.8 million) in 2005.
  • The number of uninsured children increased from 8 million (10.9 percent) in 2005 to 8.7 million (11.7 percent) in 2006.
  • The number and rate of uninsured Hispanics increased to 34.1 percent (15.3. million) from 32.3 percent (14 million) in 2005.
  • The percentage of people covered by government health insurance programs decreased to 27 percent in 2006 from 27.3 percent in 2005.
  • The percentage and the number of people covered by Medicaid (12.9 percent) and Medicare (13.6 percent) remained statistically unchanged in 2006.
  • The Northeast and the South saw increases in their uninsured rates in 2006 to 11.7 percent and 18 percent, respectively, in 2005.
  • Comparing across states using three-year average uninsured rates for 2005–2006 shows that Texas (24.1 percent) had the highest percentage of uninsured. The rate for Minnesota (8.5 percent) was not statistically different from the rates for Hawaii (8.6 percent), Iowa (9.3 percent), Wisconsin (9.4 percent), or Maine (9.5 percent), but it was lower that the uninsured rates in the other 45 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Using two-year average uninsured rates for 2005 – 2006, 12 states showed statistically significant increases in the uninsured: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota and Utah. West Virginia is the only state that had a statistically significant decline in the number of uninsured.