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Health Insurance Coverage Increased in 2011, Census Says

Sep 17th, 2012

HIXFor the first since 2007, the number of insured Americans went up in 2011. The increase was mostly credited to young adults staying on their parents’ health insurance plans. A portion of the population also obtained their health coverage through Medicare and Medicaid programs.

According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, people living without health insurance declined to 48.6 million last year from 50 million in 2010. This leaves 15.7 percent of the population without health insurance coverage, down from 16.3 percent in 2010.

The Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to increase the number of people with health coverage; it will be fully implemented in 2014. A part of the law already in effect allows children below 26 years to stay on their parents’ plans, and 540,000 young adults took advantage of that provision.

“You can see a lot of the fall is due to the 19-25 year-old age group,” said David Johnson of the Census Bureau. “We also see a large increase in coverage for public coverage. I think those two things are driving the uninsured rate falling.”

Nearly a million people obtained health insurance through public health programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to the same report.

The number of people who lost their health insurance because of unemployment also went down, as more people worked full-time in 2011 compared to 2010.

“This is the first time in the last 10 years that the rate of private insurance coverage has not decreased,” said Johnson. About 55 percent of Americans are covered by a private plan in 2011.

Supporters of the ACA said the numbers showed that fears surrounding the new law’s effect on healthcare coverage are unfounded. Critics argue that the law might cause employers to stop offering health insurance to their workers.

“In fact, the law has expanded coverage, even as we are still recovering from an economic downturn,” said Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress. “These numbers also underscore just how important it is to move forward with implementation of the rest of the law, especially Medicaid expansion which will cover millions of low-income Americans.”

Source: VISTA Health insurance news

 

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