NCHS: Insurance coverage expands, gaps remain

NCHS: insurance coverage expands, gaps remain
Two new U.S. government reports provide a statistical snapshot of health and health insurance coverage in 2013, before new coverage options took effect under the Affordable Care Act.

(HealthDay)—Two new U.S. government reports provide a statistical snapshot of health and health insurance coverage in 2013, before new coverage options took effect under the Affordable Care Act.

The reports, released Thursday by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), draw on data from interviews with more than 104,000 families as part of the 2013 National Health Interview Survey. Estimates for 2013 were compared with prior periods going back as far as 1997.

Fewer Americans were uninsured in 2013 than in 2010—14.4 percent versus 16 percent, respectively. But sharp coverage gaps remained depending on factors like age, race or ethnicity and where people live. More than 8 million people signed up for for 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported in May. Another 4.8 million enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. And an estimated 5 million people selected health plans sold outside of the new state and federal marketplaces, HHS said.

Hispanic people were three times as likely, and blacks were more than 1.5 times as likely, to be uninsured as whites, the researchers found. Rates of coverage varied by state as well. "For example, 3.8 percent and 5.2 percent were uninsured in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, respectively, whereas 24.8 percent were uninsured in Nevada and 24.7 percent were uninsured in Florida," NCHS statisticians wrote.

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