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Uninsured Rate Shrinking, Census Data Shows

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, September 13, 2012

Data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau holds good news for the Obama administration as it continues to work to convince a dubious electorate of the power of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

  • During 2011, the first full year of healthcare reform, fewer people were uninsured than in 2010. Some 48.6 million Americans representing 15.7% of the total population were uninsured compared to 49.9 million uninsured in 2010. The 2011 data also records the first drop in the number of the uninsured since the beginning of the recession in 2008.
  • The uninsured rate among 19 to 25 year olds dropped to 27.7% in 2011 from 29.8% in 2010. PPACA allows dependents under age 26 to remain on their parent's health insurance policies.
  • The percent of people covered by employer-sponsored health insurance held almost steady 55.1% (2011) and 55.3% (2010). With only one or two exceptions, the percentage of employment-based coverage has dropped each year since 2000 when the rate stood at 64%.
  • The number of people with health insurance increased to 260.2 million, which is up from 256.6 million in 2010.

The data is from the Census Bureau report, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011.

The 2011 data ilustrates the effects of the PPACA and hints at economic recovery, according to Stephen Zuckerman, PhD, a health economist with the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based non-partisan research institute.

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