Health insurance coverage on the rise in the United States


Despite what some out there may have you believe, there is evidence that the number of people who have health insurance in the United States is actually increasing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of uninsured people for the native born population declined to 12.7 percent in 2007. This was from 13.2 percent in 2006. Those born outside of the United States, but who are now legal citizens, did not see a statistical increase or decrease in those covered by health insurance in the same period of time.

Economic status plays a very large role in health insurance, with those with higher income being considerably more likely to have it than those with lower income. In 2007, of those with incomes over $75,000, only 7.8 percent were without health insurance. Conversely, those with incomes under $25,000 showed a 24.5 percent uninsured rate. Most of the increase in covered citizens from 2006 was in the highest income bracket while those in the lower brackets showed little to no change. This is bad news for those in the lower income brackets, as they are the ones least likely to be able to afford even the most reasonable health insurance quote.

Full time workers saw a marked increase in those covered by health insurance in 2007, with 82.1 percent of all full time workers insured, accounting for just over four million people. The number of part time people and the number of non-working people with health insurance did not statistically change.

More children also enjoyed health insurance coverage in 2007, with 2.3 million more kids being insured than 2006. Although this is overall good news, the proportion of children covered by health insurance is very dependent on age, race, poverty status, and Hispanic origin. Children in poverty were 6 percent more likely to be uninsured than those who were not, and kids under 12 were 1.6 percent more likely to be insured.

While only 7.3 percent of white, non-hispanic children were uninsured in 2007, a staggering 20 percent of all Hispanic children had no health insurance. Black and Asian children were more likely to have health insurance, with 11.7 and 12.2 percent lacking coverage, repsectively. Black and Hispanic children saw an increase of coverage in 2007, shrinking that gap, while the figures regarding White and Hispanic children did not significantly change.

Health insurance rates depend on location as well, though all regions but the Midwest did see a decrease in those not insured. The South had the largest percentage of those without insurance at 18.4 percent, while the Northeast had the lowest at 12.3 percent. Those living in larger cities were also more likely to be insured, with those outside of major metropolitan areas being 5.2% more likely to be uninsured. It’s worth noting that far more people live in major cities in the Northeast than do in the South, so this may be two sides of the same coin. Going by individual states, Texas shows the highest percentage of those not insured with nearly a quarter of the population going without insurance in 2007. No other state came close to Texas’s 24.4 percent uninsured rate, with second worst going to New Mexico at 21.9, though not a single mainland state south of the Mason-Dixon line had more than 90 percent of its population insured. Contrary to most of the other trends, there were actually more people without insurance in Texas in 2007 than in 2006. Massachusetts and Hawaii tied for most insured, with only 8.3 percent of their population lacking health insurance.