Census data show rise in uninsured population.
The increase from 2002 to 2003 amounted to 1.4 million uninsured Americans, with the percentage of uninsured rising from 15.2% to 15.6% of the population, according to the bureau's report, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003.
The bureau cited a decline in employer-based health insurance as a key factor. The number of people covered by employer-based plans fell from 175 million (61.3%) in 2002 to 174 million (60.4%) in 2003. That change overshadowed a slight uptick in government-sponsored coverage.
Still, being employed does seem to improve one's chances of getting coverage. Among people 18-64 years of age in 2003, 82.5% of those with full-time jobs had health insurance, compared with 76.2% of part-time workers and 74% of nonworkers.
Even so, the uninsured rate for those working full time increased from nearly 16.8% in 2002 to 17.5% in 2003.
The decline in employer-based coverage was partially offset by a rise in the number of people with government-sponsored insurance, from 73.6 million (25.7%) in 2002 to 76.8 million (26.6%) in 2003. Medicare coverage increased by 0.2%, while Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) coverage increased 0.7% over this time period.
Dr. J. Edward Hill, president-elect of the American Medical Association, maintained that Congress could do better to help the uninsured. The data "highlight the urgent need for action," he said in a statement. "Our 45 million patients without health insurance deserve better."
At its annual meeting in June, AMA delegates approved language to urge congressional support for tax credits and other state-based initiatives that would provide health coverage to low-income patients.
The uninsured rate among blacks, Asians, and Hispanics did not change from the year before, but the rate increased among non-Hispanic whites, from 10.7% (20.8 million) in 2002 to 11.1% (21.6 million) in 2003.
BY JENNIFER SILVERMAN
Associate Editor, Practice Trends
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Practice Trends|
|Publication:||Internal Medicine News|
|Date:||Sep 15, 2004|
|Previous Article:||ABIM releases self-evaluation module for preventive care.|
|Next Article:||Title IX, my foot!|