Public programs cushioned blow of increase in uninsured Americans

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The rate of Americans without health insurance increased for the third straight year, according to an annual report by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday. In 2003, 45 million Americans, or 15.2%, lacked health insurance, compared to 43.6 million, or 15.2%, in 2002.

Experts say the uninsured rate would have been worse if expansion of public coverages had not taken place in 2003. Programs such as Medicaid helped ease some of the burden. Employment-based coverage suffered in 2003 because of job loss and rising health insurance costs.

The rate is expected to increase as health insurance premiums rise unless policy changes are implemented, experts said. Americans receiving health coverage through an employer-based health plan decreased from 175.3 million in 2002 to 174 million in 2003. At the same time, 26.6% of Americans were covered by public programs, up from 25.7% in 2002.

Visit www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthin03.html for the Census Bureau's report and other health findings.
Public programs cushioned blow of increase in uninsured Americans

The rate of Americans without health insurance increased for the third straight year, according to an annual report by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday. In 2003, 45 million Americans, or 15.2%, lacked health insurance, compared to 43.6 million, or 15.2%, in 2002.

Experts say the uninsured rate would have been worse if expansion of public coverages had not taken place in 2003. Programs such as Medicaid helped ease some of the burden. Employment-based coverage suffered in 2003 because of job loss and rising health insurance costs.

The rate is expected to increase as health insurance premiums rise unless policy changes are implemented, experts said. Americans receiving health coverage through an employer-based health plan decreased from 175.3 million in 2002 to 174 million in 2003. At the same time, 26.6% of Americans were covered by public programs, up from 25.7% in 2002.

Visit www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthin03.html for the Census Bureau's report and other health findings.