Uninsured Rate Declines for Children and Rises for Working-Age Adults

From 2008 to 2012, the percentage of children under 19 without health insurance declined from 9.7% in 2008 to 7.5% in 2012, while the percent age for working-age adults rose from 19.4%  to 20.8%. The health insurance statistics include two income categories that are relevant to recent changes in federal law. One category is families with incomes less than or equal to 138% of the poverty threshold. Eligibility for Medicaid was expanded earlier this year up to this threshold in participating states, i.e., those that allow Medicaid expansion. The second income category is new to the health insurance estimates this year: families with incomes from 138% to 400% of the poverty threshold. Under the law, these families can receive tax credits that will help them pay for health coverage contracted through the new health insurance exchanges.

“These new statistics on health coverage by income can be used as a baseline for policymakers and researchers studying the impacts of health care policy changes at state and local levels in the future,” said Lucinda Dalzell, chief of the Census Bureau’s Small Area Estimates Branch.
The study also includes these highlights:
• 68% of counties in the Northeast have an uninsured rate below 13% compared to only 2.5% of counties in the West.
• In every county, the uninsured rate for children under age 19 was lower than working-age adults, ages 18 to 64, except for four counties in Nevada, which saw no statistical difference.
• For the population younger than 65 living at or below 138% of poverty, non-Hispanic blacks had a lower uninsured rate than non-Hispanic whites in 34 states. Hispanics had a higher uninsured rate than non-Hispanic whites for every state but Hawaii, which was not statistically different.

Last Updated 09/16/2020

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