Report Documents Changes in Health Insurance Coverage

I came across an interesting report from the Kaiser Family Foundation today. The report examines changes in health insurance coverage over the last decade, with a focus on how the turmoil in the economy has affected the number of uninsured. The ranks of the uninsured grew by 13 million between 2000 and 2010.The report’s authors, John Holahan and Vicki Chen, found a direct correlation between a decline in economic conditions and a rise in the numbers of uninsured. The report concludes that the uptick in the number of uninsured is in part due to the loss of employer sponsored health coverage.  In other words -when people lose jobs they lose health insurance.

One exception to the trend of uninsured adults is in the 19-25 year old age bracket.  This cohort has actually seen an increase in insurance coverage over the past year. The report attributes this increase to the provision of the Affordable Care Act that allowed parents to keep young adults on their insurance policies.  The Department of Health and Human Services released data today from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reinforces this finding in the Kaiser report. Specifically, the CDC data shows that since September 2010, approximately 2.5 million more young adults aged 19-25 are covered by a private health insurance plan compared to the number of young adults who would have been insured without the law.

Younger children also fared better than adults with regard to insurance coverage. The Kaiser report found that the uninsured rate among children has declined slightly in recent years due to increased enrollment in Medicaid and Child Health Plus. The report also analyzes trends in coverage by work status, race and ethnicity, citizenship status and geographical region. You can access the full report here.

-Jaime Venditti, 12/15/11