Questions for Emily P. Zammitti, M.P.H., Associate Service Fellow and Lead Author on “Health Insurance Coverage: Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January-June 2017”
Q: What is new in this report?
EZ: What’s new in this report is that we are putting out estimates based on data collected from January through June of 2017. For example, in the first 6 months of 2017, 9.0% of persons of all ages were uninsured, 36.4% had public coverage, and 62.6% had private coverage at the time of interview. For the first time using 2017 data, this report also presents state-level estimates for 11 states.
Q: What does your data show this year for Americans who have high-deductible health insurance plans compared to previous years?
EZ: We’re seeing a continued climb in the percentage enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans. In the first 6 months of 2017, 42.9% of privately insured persons under age 65 were enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, or an HDHP. Enrollment in HDHPs has increased from 25.3% in 2010, and more recently, has increased from 39.4% in 2016.
Q: How has coverage through tax-advantaged health savings account insurance plans changed in 2017?
EZ: This is another area where we’re seeing a statistically significant increase – Americans enrolled in tax-advantaged health savings account insurance plans. Among persons under age 65 who had private health insurance coverage, the percentage who had a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account, or a consumer-directed health plan, has more than doubled, from 7.7% in 2010 to 17.4% in the first 6 months of 2017. More recently, the percentage of those enrolled in a consumer-directed health plan increased from 15.5% in 2016 to 17.4%.
Q: Are a lot of Americans finding coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces?
EZ: This new report does offer updated statistics on the number of Americans finding coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces. Among persons under age 65, 65.4% (176.8 million people) were covered by private health insurance plans at the time of interview in the first 6 months of 2017. This includes 3.7% (10.1 million people) covered by private plans obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges.
Q: What do you see in state-level estimates of health insurance coverage this year so far?
EZ: This report presents estimates of health insurance coverage in the first half of 2017 for 11 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Of these 11 states, in the first 6 months of 2017, the percentage of adults aged 18-64 who were uninsured was highest in Texas (25.1%), and lowest in New York (7.0%). Despite variation in the uninsured estimates between 2016 and the first 6 months of 2017, none of the differences for any of the 11 selected states were significant.
Q: What is the take-home message from this report?
EZ: I think the real take-home message from this report is found in the number of Americans who no longer lack health insurance. In the first 6 months of 2017, 28.8 million (9.0%) persons of all ages were uninsured at the time of interview. This estimate is not significantly different from 2016, but there are 19.8 million fewer uninsured persons than in 2010.
QuickStats: Percentage of Children and Teens Aged 6–17 Years Who Missed More Than 10 Days of School in the Past 12 Months Because of Illness or Injury, by Serious Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties Status and Age GroupNovember 13, 2017
During 2014–2016, children aged 6–17 years whose parent or guardian indicated the child had serious emotional or behavioral difficulties (EBDs) were almost four times as likely to miss more than 10 days of school because of illness or injury compared with children without serious EBDs (13.4% compared with 3.5%).
Among children with serious EBDs, those aged 6–10 years were less likely (8%) to miss more than 10 days of school compared with children aged 11–14 years (15.6%) and children aged 15–17 years (19.5%).
Among children without serious EBDs those aged 15–17 years (4.7%) were more likely to miss >10 school days compared with children aged 6–10 years (3%) and children aged 11–14 years (3.3%).
Source: National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey, 2014–2016
Fact or Fiction: Is the Average Wait Time to See a Medical Professional in the Emergency Room Less Than an Hour?November 9, 2017
Source: National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey