The US Census Bureau today reported on the state of health insurance coverage in the US, and the trends are not good:
1. The number of people with health insurance coverage increased by 1.4 million to 247.3 million between 2004 and 2005, and the number without such coverage rose by 1.3 million to 46.6 million (from 15.6 percent in 2004 to 15.9 percent in 2005).
2. Between 2004 and 2005, people covered by employment-based health insurance (174.8 million) declined from 59.8 percent to 59.5 percent.
3. While the number of people covered by government health programs increased between 2004 and 2005, from 79.4 million to 80.2 million, the percentage of people covered by government health insurance remained at 27.3 percent. There was no statistical difference in the number or percentage of people covered by Medicaid (38.1 million and 13.0 percent, respectively) between 2004 and 2005.
4. The proportion and number of uninsured children increased between 2004 and 2005, from 10.8 percent to 11.2 percent and from 7.9 million to 8.3 million, respectively.
According to the Physicians for a National Health Program, this is the fifth straight year of increases in the ranks of uninsured. The number of uninsured has increased by 6.8 million since 2000. The Physicians´ group noted that “the large increase in the number of uninsured Americans was a result of the continued erosion of employer-based coverage. A million full time workers lost their coverage between 2004 and 2005 (in 2005, 21.5 million of the uninsured worked full-time). The proportion of Americans covered by employer-based coverage continues to plummet, from 63.6 percent in 2000, to 59.8 percent in 2004, and 59.5 percent in 2005.”