NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Health Insurance is Sometimes a Matter of Choice

October 1, 2003

In September 2003 the Census Bureau released their latest figures on the number of people with health insurance during 2002. The individuals with health insurance during this period rose slightly to 242.4 million, up from 240.9 million in 2001 -- an increase of about 1.5 million. Those without health insurance also rose by 2.4 million during the same period.

  • The number of children with health insurance rose by 662,000 representing a .10 percentage point decrease in the rate of uninsured children.
  • The number of seniors with health insurance rose by 479,000, reducing the ranks of the uninsured seniors by 14,000 and leaving the proportion of seniors without health insurance unchanged.
  • An additional 468,000 low income individuals (earning $25,000 per year or less) obtained insurance in 2002 - leaving the proportion uninsured unchanged.
  • Oddly enough, an increase of close to one million people (940,000) were uninsured in families with income greater than $50,000, two-third of which were from families earning more than $75,000.

Among the entire population of 19 to 64 year olds, workers were more likely to have insurance than nonworkers. Moreover, young adults (18-24) were less likely than other age groups to have health insurance average 70.4 percent in 2002, compared with 82.0 percent of those older. Spells without health insurance were of short duration. On a monthly basis, about three-quarters (74.7 percent) were over within one year.

Source: Robert J. Mills and Shailesh Bhandari, "Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2002, Current Population Reports, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce, September 2003.

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