Rate of Uninsured People Drops to a New Low

The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau regarding health-care insurance coverage show that the number of uninsured people living in the U.S. has dropped to 8.8 percent – down from 9.1 percent in the previous year, and a record low.

In “Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2016,” the Census Bureau reported that the total number of people without health-care insurance dropped from 29 million in 2015 to 28.1 million in 2016. Just three years ago, in 2013, the number of uninsured people living in the U.S. was an estimated 42 million.

Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage dropped for most ages under 65, with generally larger decreases for working-age adults (19-64 years). Health insurance coverage did not increase for all segments of the population, though. The percentage of uninsured children (<19 years), African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans did not significantly change.

The increase in the number of insured people is attributed to the coverage expansion provided through the Affordable Care Act, but private health insurance continued to be more prevalent than insurance purchased through the federal exchanges (67.5 percent and 37.3 percent, respectively), and employer-based insurance provided the majority of coverage.

The main subtypes of health insurance coverage for some or all of the 2016 calendar year were broken down as follows:

  • employer-based insurance (55.7%)
  • Medicaid (19.4%)
  • Medicare (16.7%)
  • direct purchase (16.2%)
  • military coverage (4.6%)

However, according to data regarding the subtypes of health insurance coverage in 2016, government-provided coverage is increasing slightly. From 2015 to 2016, Medicare coverage increased by 0.4 percent – a statistically significant change, the report authors noted. There were no significant changes for the other insurance subtypes.

Sources: Kaiser Health News, September 12, 2017; U.S. Census Bureau, “Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2016.”