BEYOND THE NUMBERS
We’ve posted our full analysis of the Census Bureau’s new data on health coverage, which show that the share and number of Americans with health insurance improved slightly last year. (Because the results are for 2013, they don’t reflect the coverage gains in 2014 resulting from health reform’s major coverage provisions, which took effect on January 1 — namely, the Medicaid expansion and subsidized marketplace coverage.)
Census published data from both its Current Population Survey (CPS) and American Community Survey (ACS). Although the CPS is the most widely used source of health coverage information, changes in its health coverage questions in 2013 — the result of a multi-year Census initiative to improve the reliability and accuracy of the survey’s health coverage estimates — mean the 2013 results can’t be compared to those for prior years. Thus, for comparisons with earlier years, the ACS is the preferred data source this year.
The Census figures from the ACS show:
- The share of Americans without health coverage fell slightly, from 14.8 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013 (see chart). The number of uninsured Americans also declined slightly, from 45.6 million in 2012 to 45.2 million in 2013.
- The share of the population with private coverage remained stable at 65.0 percent in 2013 for the third consecutive year, while the share of the population with Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) remained stable at 15.3 percent.
- The share of the population enrolled in Medicare rose again in 2013 as another cohort of baby boomers aged into eligibility.
- Some 14.1 percent of those living in states that have expanded Medicaid were uninsured in 2013, compared with 17.3 percent of residents of non-expansion states. These results pre-date, and hence do not reflect, the coverage gains due to the Medicaid expansion. This means that the coverage gap between expansion and non-expansion states will widen further in 2014.
Click here to read the full paper.