Posted on 17 Aug 2010
The number of people in the United States without health insurance is reported annually by the U.S. Census Bureau, and this year's report detailing 2009 data -- due for release on September 16 -- is expected to reveal a significant increase in the number of uninsured people across the country.
In times of economic crisis when an increasing number of employers shutter their businesses or tighten their belts by terminating group health insurance plans, health insurance coverage tends to decrease.
In 2008, the number of uninsured increased to 46.3 million, up from 45.7 million in 2007, while the percentage of the population without coverage was 15.4%, which was not statistically different from the 2007 uninsured rate of 15.3%.
The 2008 increase in the number of uninsured was solely attributable to the decline in employment-based coverage, which continued its free fall. In 2008, 58.5% of the population had employment-based coverage, down from 59.3% in 2007 and 59.7% in 2006. As recently as 2000, 64.2% of the U.S. population had employment-based health insurance coverage and since then, public programs, such as Medicaid, have failed to offset the decline in employment-based coverage.
The new health care reform law is intended to sharply reduce the number of uninsured. But the most significant provision to expand coverage—one that will provide federal premium subsidies to the lower-income uninsured—doesn’t kick in until 2014.