By: Kenneth Finegold
Estimates from Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS-ASEC) data for calendar year 2012, released on September 17, show that 3 million more Americans had health insurance coverage than in 2011. This ASPE Issue Brief includes estimates of the uninsured by age, race and ethnicity, employment status, and household income. It also traces trends in sources of health insurance coverage from 1999 to 2012 and discusses the implications of the findings in the context of the expansion of affordable coverage options under the Affordable Care Act.
The Census Bureau released new data on health insurance coverage and the uninsured for 2012 on September 17, 2013.1 The new data come from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS-ASEC), the most widely cited of the multiple national surveys of health insurance coverage.
The key finding is that 3 million more Americans had health insurance coverage in 2012: the number of Americans with insurance coverage increased from 260.2 million in 2011 to 263.2 million in 2012. The corresponding percentage of people in all age groups without health insurance decreased from 15.7% in 2011 to 15.4% in 2012, a statistically significant change.
The Census survey, fielded from February to April 2013, asked respondents about coverage during the previous calendar year, 2012, and classifies individuals as uninsured if they did not report any source of coverage for any time during the year. Individuals are considered uninsured, therefore, if they reported being uninsured for the entire year. Others who may have been uninsured for only part of the year are not counted as uninsured in these data.
Estimates from the CPS-ASEC give us a broad picture of patterns of uninsurance and sources of coverage prior to the establishment of the Health Insurance Marketplace and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment for the Marketplace began October 1, 2013 for coverage starting on January 1, 2014 (http://www.healthcare.gov).