New CDC Data Show Drop in Private Health Insurance Coverage
The percentage of U.S. residents with private health insurance is the lowest it has been in 50 years, according to new CDC estimates, the AP/USA Today reports. The estimate is based on interviews of about 75,000 U.S. residents in 2008.
CDC found that about 65% of non-elderly U.S. residents had private insurance in 2008, down from 67% in 2007. In comparison, almost 80% of U.S. residents had private coverage in the 1970s and 1980s, CDC officials said.
In addition, the survey found that about 15% of respondents said they were uninsured, which correlates to about 44 million uninsured U.S. residents. According to the agency, rates of uninsurance in the 20 largest states ranged from a low of 3% in Massachusetts to a high of 23% in Texas.
According to the data, the uninsured rate was highest in the southern and western portions of the country.
The data also indicated that the number of children with private health coverage declined, but the rate was not statistically significant.
Health officials said that the number of children enrolled in public health insurance has increased dramatically in the past decade; currently, one in three children is enrolled in a public plan.
Also, public coverage of adults is increasing in some states, as programs such as Medicaid expand eligibility, the AP/USA Today reports.
Potential ExplanationsSome experts fault the economic recession and corporate decisions to raise health insurance premiums or eliminate employee coverage for the decrease in residents with private health insurance. They said private insurance rates for 2009 might be even lower (AP/USA Today, 7/2). 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.