Census Data Show Big Uptick in Uninsured U.S., Calif. Residents
About 50.7 million U.S. residents went without health insurance last year, up by 4.4 million over 2008 in the largest annual jump since the government began assessing comparable data in 1987, according to according to data from the Census Bureau, the Wall Street Journal reports (Johnson, Wall Street Journal, 9/17).
According to The Hill's "Healthwatch," the trend was driven largely by sharp decreases in employer-sponsored coverage (Lillis, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/16).
Types of Insurance Coverage
The data indicated that around 63.9% of people were covered by private insurance last year â" the lowest percentage since 1987 â" while 30.6% were the covered by government programs, the highest percentage in that time span.
The number of U.S. residents with employer-sponsored coverage fell to 169.7 million last year from 176.3 million in 2008, a 6.6 million decrease and the largest one-time drop since 1987.
The data also indicated that U.S. residents are losing employer-based insurance at a faster rate than government programs can enroll them, according to the Census Bureau.
The agency also found that:
- The number of U.S. residents with some form of health insurance fell for the first time since 1987, from 253.6 million in 2009 to 255.1 million in 2008;
- More individuals -- 47.8 million -- were covered by Medicaid in 2009 than ever, up from 42.6 million in 2008;
- The total number of U.S. residents covered by government programs increased from 87.4 million in 2008 to 93.2 million last year;
- The number of uninsured children increased slightly, from 7.3 million in 2008 to 7.5 million in 2009 (Wall Street Journal, 9/17); and
- About 26.6% of U.S. residents whose annual incomes were below $25,000 were uninsured, compared with just 9.1% of U.S. residents with annual incomes of $75,000 or more (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 9/16).
According to the Census Bureau data, 20% of California residents lacked health insurance coverage in 2009, up from 18.6% in 2008 (Reese, Sacramento Bee, 9/17). Nearly 11% of California children lacked health insurance last year.
The data also show that more than 30% of California residents received government-run insurance last year. About 18.9% of those residents obtained coverage through Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program (Lin, "California Watch Blog," 9/17).
Among Californians younger than age 65, about 52.3% had job-based insurance coverage last year, down from 55.5% in 2006 (Gregory, Ventura County Star, 9/16). Nationwide, about 58.9% of people younger than age 65 have job-based health insurance (Lee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.