HHS/ASPE. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.Background

ASPE ISSUE BRIEF

Overview of the Uninsured in the United States: A Summary of the 2012 Current Population Survey Report

September 12, 2012

By Susan R. Todd and Benjamin D. Sommers

Abstract
The Census Bureau released data on health insurance coverage and the uninsured for 2011 on September 12, 2012. Although there are four major government surveys that produce estimates of health insurance coverage, the Current Population Survey (CPS) is the most widely cited and receives national media attention. The percentage of people without health insurance in 2011 decreased from 2010. In 2011, the percentage was 15.7%, compared to 16.3% in 2010. During 2011, an estimated 48.61 million people were without insurance, a statistically significant decrease of 1.34 million from the estimated 49.95 million uninsured in 2010. Young adults (19-25) were the age group that experienced the greatest decline in the percentage without insurance over the past year, from 29.8% in 2010 to 27.7% in 2011. For the first time in the last 10 years, the rate of private insurance coverage did not decline in 2011. Employer-sponsored insurance continues to be the largest source of health insurance coverage in 2011, covering 55.1% of the population, which was not statistically different from 2010. The percentage of children under age 18 without health insurance in 2011 was 9.4%, stable from 2010. The uninsured rate for children has decreased significantly from 12.0% in 1999, when the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was beginning to be implemented.

This issue brief is available on the Internet at:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2012/UninsuredInTheUS/ib.shtml

Printer friendly version in PDF format (6 pages)
[Free PDF reader Exit disclaimer]

Contents

Introduction

The following figures summarize key points about the health insurance coverage data released today.

Overall Health Insurance Coverage

How Many Americans are Uninsured?

Figure 2: Insurance Trends, 1999-2011
Notes: Data is for the entire US population. Percentages do not add up to 100% because some people have more than one type of coverage. In 2010, the Census Bureau updated its coverage data for current and prior years to reflect changes in the methods used to impute health insurance for non-repondents. Government insurance includes military coverage.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011
Insurance Trends, 1999-2011

[LD]

Who Are The Uninsured?

Figure 3: Profile of the Uninsured vs. Total Population by Age, 2011
Notes:Totals may not sum to 100% due to rounding.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011
Profile of the Uninsured vs. Total Population by Age, 2011

[LD]

Figure 4: Profile of the Uninsured vs. Total Population by Household Income, 2011
Notes:Totals may not sum to 100% due to rounding.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011
Profile of the Uninsured vs. Total Population by Household Income, 2011

[LD]


Table 1: Uninsured Rates by Age, Race/Ethnicity and Household Income
    Percent of the Total Population Percent of the Uninsured2 Uninsured Rate3
Age Under 19 25.4% 15.7% 9.7%
19-25 9.7% 17.0% 27.7%
26-34 12.0% 21.1% 27.5%
35-44 12.9% 17.3% 21.0%
45-64 26.5% 27.5% 16.3%
65 and older 13.4% 1.4% 1.7%
Race/Ethnicity White, Non-Hispanic

64.3%

45.3%

11.1%
Black 13.1% 16.1% 19.5%
Asian 5.3% 5.6% 16.8%
Hispanic (any race) 17.3% 33.0% 30.1%
Household Income Less than $25,000 19.0% 30.7% 25.4%
$25,000-$49,999 23.3% 31.8% 21.5%
$50,000-$74,999 18.5% 18.1% 15.4%
$75,000 more 39.2% 19.3% 7.8%

Endnotes

[1] Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey suggest that more than 3 million young adults gained health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act (Sommers BD. Number of Young Adults Gaining Health Insurance Due to the Affordable Care Act Now Tops 3 Million. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services, 2012. http://aspe.hhs.gov/aspe/gaininginsurance/rb.shtml). This is based on a comparison of the rates of coverage in September 2010 and December 2011. The CPS numbers reported here cover a different time frame: the uninsured rate throughout all of 2010 (which includes 3-4 months after the ACA’s provision for young adults had taken effect) and the uninsured rate throughout all of 2011. Since the CPS is designed for annual estimates, it may not be ideal for assessing the effects of policy interventions that occur mid-year such as the expansion of coverage for young adults which began on September 23, 2010.

[2]Percent of uninsured is the number of uninsured people in the specified category divided by the total uninsured population.  For Race/Ethnicity, it is the percent of those that reported Race/Ethnicity in one of the four categories.

[3]Uninsured rate is the number of uninsured people in the specified category divided by the total number of people in that specific category.


How to Obtain a Printed Copy

To obtain a printed copy of this report, send the title and your mailing information to:

Health Policy, Room 447D
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Fax:  (202) 690-2524

Email:  pic@hhs.gov

Where to?

Top of Page

Home Pages:
Human Services Policy (HSP)
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Last Revised:  06/13/14 Error processing SSI file