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US Health Coverage Rebounds—For Now

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 27, 2013

After two decades of mostly declines, the percentage of Americans with health insurance inched up between 2011 and 2012, according to a new study. But with the advent of health insurance exchanges, the future level of insured people is impossible to know.


health insurance coverage


>>>Health Insurance Statistics

After two decades of mostly declines, the percentage of Americans with health insurance inched up between 2011 and 2012, according to a new study from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute. The study also found that a downward trend in employer-based coverage since 2000 leveled off between 2011 and 2012. But with the advent of health insurance exchanges, the future level of insured people is impossible to know.

Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI's Health Research and Education Program and author of the report, attributed the improved coverage trends to a combination of factors. "Premium growth has been moderate compared with past years, and you have more people working with access to coverage, and the unemployment rate is falling, which means that employers aren't cutting back as much," Fronstin says. "We aren't looking at a V shape. We are talking about a fall all of these years and then it stopped."

The numbers in the study are gleaned from the U.S. Census Bureau's March 2013 Current Population Survey and reflect 2012 results, which is the latest available data. As a result, Fronstin says the study does not necessarily reflect any workplace coverage trends that may be shifting with the six-month open enrollment period for the individual plans that will be sold on the health insurance exchanges beginning October 1.

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