Number of Children Without Health Insurance Declines, While It Rises for Working-Age Adults
AUSTIN, March 19, 2014 - Number of Children Without Health Insurance Declines, While It Rises for Working-Age Adults, Census Bureau Reports
Between 2008 and 2012, the number of children under age 19 without health insurance declined in 1,171 counties and rose in 17, with 1,950 not having a statistically significant change, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of working-age adults without health insurance rose in 494 counties, declined in 269 counties and did not have a statistically significant change in 2,375 counties.
These statistics come from the 2012 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates, the only source for single-year estimates of the number of people with health insurance for each of the nation's roughly 3,140 counties. The statistics are provided by broad age and sex groups, and at income levels that reflect thresholds for state and federal assistance programs. Statewide estimates also break out the data by race and Hispanic origin.
Nationally, according to the American Community Survey, an essential input to the health insurance estimates, the percentage of children under 19 without health insurance declined from 9.7 percent (7.5 million) in 2008 to 7.5 percent (5.8 million) in 2012, while the percentage for working-age adults rose from 19.4 percent (36.1 million) to 20.8 percent (39.8 million).
The health insurance statistics are provided for two income categories that are relevant to recent changes in federal law. One category is families with incomes less than or equal to 138 percent of the poverty threshold. Eligibility for Medicaid was expanded earlier this year up to this threshold in participating states, i.e., those that allow Medicaid expansion. The second income category is new to the health insurance estimates this year: families with incomes between 138 percent and 400 percent of the poverty threshold. Under the law, these families can receive tax credits that will help them pay for health coverage contracted through the new health insurance exchanges.
"These new statistics on health coverage by income can be used as a baseline for policymakers and researchers studying the impacts of health care policy changes at state and local levels in the future," said Lucinda Dalzell, chief of the Census Bureau's Small Area Estimates Branch.
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