Health Affairs Web Exclusive Examines Uninsured
Despite an increase in the number of Americans receiving employer-sponsored health coverage between 1994 and 2000, the rate of uninsurance remained roughly constant over the same period, Urban Institute Health Policy Center Director John Holahan and Urban Institute researcher Mary Beth Pohl write in a Health Affairs Web exclusive. According to the authors, the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health insurance rose from 64.3% in 1994 to 67.3% in 2000, due in part to economic growth. However, Holahan and Pohl note that such an expansion was offset by declines in other forms of coverage, including Medicaid and other state-based coverage and private nongroup coverage. Those declines were attributed to welfare reform and expanding employment. The authors found that between 1999 and 2000, the number of people without insurance dropped by 570,000, largely because of increased coverage for children either through employer-sponsored insurance or the State Children's Health Insurance Program. During that time, the number of children without coverage decreased by 700,000, while the number of uninsured adults increased by 130,000 (Holahan/Pohl, "Changes in Insurance Coverage: 1994-2000 And Beyond," Health Affairs, 4/3). With so many Americans losing their jobs due to the recent economic downturn, Holahan and Pohl say that the number of people without health insurance could increase depending on how employers respond to increases in premiums, how much "individual-market" premiums rise and how governors respond to state Medicaid budget shortfalls (Holahan/Pohl, Health Affairs release, 4/3). The complete study is available online.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.