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How many people are uninsured



  • The Census Bureau released data on health insurance coverage and the uninsured for 2011 on September 12, 2012. Although there are four major government surveys that produce estimates of health insurance coverage, the Current Population Survey (CPS) is the most widely cited and receives national media attention.
  • The percentage of people without health insurance in 2011 decreased from 2010. In 2011, the percentage was 15.7%, compared to 16.3% in 2010. During 2011, an estimated 48.61 million people were without insurance, a statistically significant decrease of 1.34 million from the estimated 49.95 million uninsured in 2010.
  • Young adults (18-34) are the age group most likely to be uninsured. However, 19-25 year olds were the age group that experienced the greatest decline in the percentage without insurance over the past year, from 29.8% in 2010 to 27.7% in 2011. This represents more than half a million more young adults with health insurance than the year before. In contrast, there was no significant change in coverage for young adults 26-34. The Affordable Care Act allows young adults to remain on their parents? plans until age 26, and this policy took effect for insurance plan renewals beginning on September 23, 2010.[1]
  • For the first time in the last 10 years, the rate of private insurance coverage did not decline in 2011. Employer-sponsored insurance continues to be the largest source of health insurance coverage in 2011, covering 55.1% of the population, which was not statistically different from 2010.
  • The percentage of children under age 18 without health insurance in 2011 was 9.4%, stable from 2010. The uninsured rate

    for children has decreased significantly from 12.0% in 1999, when the Children?s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was beginning to be implemented.

The following figures summarize key points about the health insurance coverage data released today.

Overall Health Insurance Coverage

Who Are The Uninsured?


[1] Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey suggest that more than 3 million young adults gained health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act (Sommers BD. Number of Young Adults Gaining Health Insurance Due to the Affordable Care Act Now Tops 3 Million. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services, 2012. ). This is based on a comparison of the rates of coverage in September 2010 and December 2011. The CPS numbers reported here cover a different time frame: the uninsured rate throughout all of 2010 (which includes 3-4 months after the ACA?s provision for young adults had taken effect) and the uninsured rate throughout all of 2011. Since the CPS is designed for annual estimates, it may not be ideal for assessing the effects of policy interventions that occur mid-year such as the expansion of coverage for young adults which began on September 23, 2010.

[2] Percent of uninsured is the number of uninsured people in the specified category divided by the total uninsured population.  For Race/Ethnicity, it is the percent of those that reported Race/Ethnicity in one of the four categories.

[3] Uninsured rate is the number of uninsured people in the specified category divided by the total number of people in that specific category.

Category: Insurance

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