Questions for Robin Cohen, Ph.D., Health Statistician and Lead Author on “Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2017”
Q: What were some of the major findings in your full-year 2017 health insurance estimates?
RC: In 2017, 29.3 million persons were uninsured at the time of interview. This is 19.3 million fewer persons than in 2010. In 2017, 9.1% were uninsured, 36.2% had public coverage, and 62.6% had private coverage at the time of interview.
Q: What are the trends among race and ethnicity groups who were uninsured in 2017 and compared over time?
RC: In 2017, 27.2% of Hispanic, 14.1% of non-Hispanic black, 8.5% of non-Hispanic white, and 7.6% of non-Hispanic Asian adults aged 18–64 lacked health insurance coverage at the time of interview.
Significant decreases in the percentage of uninsured adults were observed from 2013 through 2017 for Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic Asian adults.
Hispanic adults had the greatest percentage point decrease in the uninsured rate from 2013 (40.6%) through 2016 (25.0%). The observed increase among Hispanic adults between 2016 and 2017 (27.2%) was not significant.
Q: What does your data show this year for Americans who have high-deductible health insurance plans compared to previous years?
RC: In 2017, 43.7% of persons under age 65 with private coverage were enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). Enrollment in HDHPs has increased 18.4 percentage points from 25.3% in 2010 to 43.7% in 2017. More recently, the percentage enrolled in an HDHP increased from 39.4% in 2016 to 43.7% in 2017.
Q: What do you see in state-level estimates of health insurance coverage this year?
RC: Among the 18 states presented in this report, there were no significant changes in the percentages of uninsured among persons aged 18–64 between 2016 and 2017.
Q: What is the take home message in this report?
RC: The take-home message from this report is found in the number of Americans who no longer lack health insurance. In 2017, 29.3 million (9.1%) persons of all ages were uninsured at the time of interview. This estimate is not significantly different from 2016, but there are 19.3 million fewer uninsured persons than in 2010.