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Uninsured Population Hits 46.3 Million in 2008

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 10, 2009

A further statistical breakdown of health insurance coverage found that:

  • The number of people with health insurance increased from 253.4 million in 2007 to 255.1 million in 2008

  • Between 2007 and 2008, the number of people covered by private health insurance decreased from 202 million to 201 million, while the number covered by government health insurance climbed from 83 million to 87.4 million. The number covered by employment-based health insurance declined from 177.4 million to 176.3 million.

  • The number of uninsured children declined from 8.1 million (11%) in 2007 to 7.3 million (9.9%) in 2008. Both the uninsured rate and number of uninsured children were the lowest since 1987, the first year that comparable health insurance data were collected.

  • Although the uninsured rate for children in poverty declined from 17.6% in 2007 to 15.7% in 2008, children in poverty were more likely to be uninsured than all children.

A further breakdown by race and ethnicity found that:

  • The uninsured rate and number of uninsured for non-Hispanic whites increased in 2008 to 10.8% and 21.3 million, from 10.4% and 20.5 million in 2007. The uninsured rate and number of uninsured for blacks in 2008, meanwhile, were not statistically different from 2007, at 19.1% and 7.3 million. The uninsured rate for Asians in 2008 rose to 17.6%, up from 16.8%.

  • The percentage of uninsured Hispanics decreased to 30.7% in 2008, from 32.1% in 2007. The number of uninsured Hispanics in 2008 was 14.6 million.

  • Based on a three-year average (2006-2008), 31.7% of people who reported American Indian and Alaska Native as their race were without coverage. The three-year average uninsured rate for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders was 18.5%.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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