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September 2009 St@teside

Current Population Survey Details 2008 Health Insurance Coverage

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of people living in the United States without health insurance rose to 46.3 million in 2008, up from 45.7 million in 2007.  According to the report, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance in the United States: 2008, continuing declines in employer sponsored and privately purchased insurance were partially offset by increases in government sponsored insurance.
Some important data points:
  • The number of individuals covered by government sponsored insurance increased to 87.4 million (29 percent), up from 83 million (27.8 percent) in 2007. 
  • In 2007 there were sharp decreases in uninsurance among children.  The number of uninsured children dropped from 8.1 million in 2007 to 7.3 million in 2008, the lowest figure since comparable health insurance data was first collected in 1987.
  • Private health insurance declined substantially, dropping from 177.4 million (67.5 percent) people covered in 2007 to 176.3 million (66.7 percent) in 2008.
Regional and state insurance rates:
  • The Northeast and Midwest had the lowest uninsurance rates, each at 11.6 percent, with the West at 17.4 percent and the South at 18.2 percent. 
  • Texas had the highest rate of uninsurance, at 25.1 percent, while Massachusetts had the lowest at 5.4 percent. 
  • Alaska, Michigan and Texas saw statistically significant increases in the rates of uninsurance.
  • Alabama, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Utah saw statistically significant decreases in their uninsurance rates.
Data from the report was collected predominantly in March of 2008, before the full effects of the economic recession set in.  Accordingly, the numbers in the survey likely underreport the number of uninsured Americans in 2008 and many experts expect figures from 2009’s survey to be much worse.

To read the full report click here.

The State Heath Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) hosted their 7th Annual Current Population Survey (CPS) Conference Call on September 11 with Charles T. Nelson from the U. S. Census Bureau. Highlights from the call included a summary of the major findings, an exploration of measurement issues and questions from participants, answered by Nelson.