Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured: Analysis of the March 2013 Current Population Survey

September 2013
EBRI Issue Brief #390
Paperback, 36 pp.
PDF, 1,443 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2013

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Executive Summary

  • This Issue Brief provides historical data through 2012 on the number and percentage of nonelderly individuals with and without health insurance. Based on EBRI estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s March 2013 Current Population Survey (CPS), it reflects 2012 data and also discusses trends in coverage for the 1994–2012 period as well as characteristics that typically indicate whether an individual is insured.
  • Health Coverage Rate Increases: The percentage of the nonelderly population (under age 65) with health insurance coverage increased to 82.3 percent in 2012, notable because increases in health insurance coverage have been recorded in only six years since 1994. The percentage of nonelderly individuals with health insurance coverage was 81.5 percent in 2010, the lowest level of that population with such coverage during the 1994–2012 period.
  • Uninsured Down: The uninsured rate for the nonelderly population was 17.7 percent last year, down from 18 percent in 2011.
  • Employment-Based Coverage Remains Dominant Source of Health Coverage, and Erosion Ends: Employment-based health benefits remain the most common form of health coverage in the United States. In 2012, 58.5 percent of the nonelderly population had employment-based health benefits, down from the peak of 69.3 percent in 2000, during the 1994–2012 period. However, the 2012 level was essentially the same as in 2011 (58.4 percent), meaning that the decline in the percentage of the nonelderly population with employment-based coverage that has occurred each year since 2000 ceased in 2012.
  • Public-Program Coverage Is Growing: The percentage of the population with public-program health coverage was unchanged in 2012, accounting for 22.6 percent of the nonelderly population. Enrollment in Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program also increased to a combined 47.3 million in 2012, covering 17.7 percent of the nonelderly population, significantly above the 10.2 percent level of 1999.
  • Individual Coverage Stable: The percentage with individually purchased health coverage was slightly higher in 2012 but has basically hovered around 7 percent since 1994.