Health Insurance Coverage: Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January-March 2017

August 29, 2017

Questions for Robin Cohen, Ph.D., Health Statistician and Lead Author on “Health Insurance Coverage: Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January-March 2017

Q: What do you think is the most interesting demographic finding among your new study’s short-term trends – age, poverty status, or race and ethnicity?

RC:  There are many interesting short-term trends presented in this report, though I would like to highlight the three that I find most interesting. Among poor adults aged 18 to 64, the percentage who were uninsured decreased from 42.2% in 2010 to 22.6% in the first 3 months of 2017. A similar decrease in the percentage of uninsured was seen for near poor adults aged 18 to 64, from 43.0% in 2010 to 23.0% in the first 3 months of 2017. Hispanic adults aged 18 to 64 had the greatest percentage point decrease in the uninsured rate from 2013 (40.6%) through the first 3 months of 2017 (24.1%).


Q: What is the most compelling long-term trend in your new health insurance report?

RC: It is quite striking and encouraging to see long-term improvements in health insurance coverage for children in the United States. The percentage of children who were uninsured generally decreased from 13.9% in 1997 to 5.3% in the first 3 months of 2017. The observed increase in the percentage of uninsured children from 4.5% in 2015 to 5.3% in the first 3 months of 2017 was not statistically significant. From 1997 to 2012, the percentage of children with private coverage has generally decreased, and the percentage of children with public coverage has generally increased. However, more recently, the percentage of children with public or private coverage has leveled off.


Q: Why aren’t state estimates presented?

RC: State level estimates of insurance coverage are not presented in the Early Release report based on the first 3 months of data from the National Health Interview Survey due to considerations of sample size and precision. However, state level estimates are included in the Health Insurance Early Release report three times a year, with the report based on 6 months of data, 9 months of data and a full year of data.


Q: It looks as though coverage through high-deductible private health insurance plans continues to rise in 2017; what patterns do your estimates show this year compared to previous years? 

RC: In the first 3 months of 2017, 42.3% of persons under age 65 with private health insurance coverage were enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), an increase from 39.4% in 2016. The percentage of persons enrolled in an HDHP increased 17 percentage points from 25.3% in 2010 to 42.3% in the first 3 months of 2017.


 

Q: What is the take home message from this report? 

RC: I think the real take-home message from this report is the long-term trend of remarkable improvement in the number of uninsured Americans. In the first 3 months of 2017, 28.1 (8.8%) million persons of all ages were uninsured at the time of interview —20.5 million fewer persons than in 2010 (16.0%). However, there was no significant change from the 2016 uninsured rate of 9.0% (28.6 million).

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New Estimates for 15 selected health measures based on data from the January–March 2015 National Health Interview Survey

September 1, 2015

A new report from NCHS updates estimates for 15 selected health measures based on data from the January–March 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and presents estimates from 1997 through 2014 for comparison. The 15 Early Release measures are being published prior to final data editing and final weighting to provide access to the most recent information from NHIS. The estimates will be updated as each new quarter of NHIS data becomes available.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • The prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults aged 20 and over increased from 19.4% in 1997 to 30.2% in January–March 2015.
  • The prevalence of current cigarette smoking among U.S. adults declined from 24.7% in 1997 to 15.2% in January–March 2015.
  • In the first quarter of 2015, the percentages of adults who had received an influenza vaccination during the past 12 months were 71.9% for adults aged 65 and over, 50.7% for those aged 50–64, and 32.5% for those aged 18–49.

 


Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, July–December 2014

June 23, 2015

Preliminary results from the July– December 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that the number of American homes with only wireless telephones continues to grow.

More than two in every five American homes (45.4%) had only wireless telephones (also known as cellular telephones, cell phones, or mobile phones) during the second half of 2014—an increase of 4.4 percentage points since the second half of 2013. More than one-half of all adults aged 18-44 and of children under 18 were living in wireless-only households.

A new NCHS report presents the most up-to-date estimates available from the federal government concerning the size and characteristics of these populations.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In the second 6 months of 2014, more than two in every five households (45.4%) did not have a landline telephone but did have at least one wireless telephone.
  • Approximately 106 million adults (44.1% of all adults) lived in households with only wireless telephones; about 40 million children (54.1% of all children) lived in households with only wireless telephones.
  • More than two-thirds of adults aged 25–29 (69.2%) and aged 30-34 (67.4%) lived in households with only wireless telephones. These rates are greater than the rate for those 18–24 (57.8%).
  • The percentage of adults living with only wireless telephones decreased as age increased beyond 35 years: 53.7% for those 35–44; 36.8% for those 45–64; and 17.1% for those 65 and over.
  • Four in five adults living only with unrelated adult roommates (81.3%) were in households with only wireless telephones. This rate is higher than the rates for adults living alone (49.5%), adults living only with spouses or other adult family members (35.8%), and adults living with children (50.8%).
  • Two in three adults living in rented homes (66.2%) had only wireless telephones. This rate is twice the rate for adults living in homes owned by a household member (33.1%).
  • Adults living in poverty (59.4%) were more likely than those living near poverty (51.1%) and higher income adults (42.5%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones.

Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January–September 2014

March 24, 2015

NCHS has released selected estimates of health insurance coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population based on data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, along with comparable estimates from the 2009–2013 NHIS. Estimates for January–September 2014 are based on data for 85,224 persons.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In the first 9 months of 2014, 37.2 million persons of all ages (11.9%) were uninsured at the time of interview, 53.5 million (17.1%) had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to interview, and 27.2 million (8.7%) had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview.
  • Among persons under age 65, 63.2% (169.5 million) were covered by private health insurance plans at the time of interview. This includes 2.1% (5.6 million) covered by private plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges at the time of interview between January and September 2014. The proportion with exchange coverage increased from 1.4% (3.7 million) in the first quarter of 2014 (January–March) to 2.5% (6.8 million) in the third quarter of 2014 (July–September).
  • Among adults aged 18–64, the percentage who were uninsured at the time of interview decreased from 20.4% in 2013 to 16.7% in the first 9 months of 2014.
  • Among adults aged 19–25, the percentage who were uninsured at the time of interview decreased from 26.5% in 2013 to 20.4% in the first 9 months of 2014.
  • In the first 9 months of 2014, the percentage of persons under age 65 who were uninsured at the time of interview varied by state. For example, 9.1% were uninsured in Pennsylvania, whereas 22.2% were uninsured in Texas.

Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January–June 2014

December 16, 2014

NCHS has released selected estimates of health insurance coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population based on data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), along with comparable estimates from the 2009–2013 NHIS. Estimates for January–June 2014 are based on data for 56,784 persons.

Three estimates of lack of health insurance coverage are provided: (a) uninsured at the time of interview, (b) uninsured at least part of the year prior to interview (which includes persons uninsured for more than a year), and (c) uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In the first 6 months of 2014, 38.0 million persons of all ages (12.2%) were uninsured at the time of interview, 54.0 million (17.3%) had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to interview, and 27.3 million (8.7%) had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview.
  • Among persons under age 65, 62.8% (168.3 million) were covered by private health insurance plans at the time of interview. This includes 1.9% (5.0 million) covered by private plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges at the time of interview between January and June 2014. The proportion with exchange coverage increased from 1.4% (3.7 million) in the first quarter of 2014 (January–March) to 2.4% (6.3 million) in the second quarter of 2014 (April–June).
  • Among adults aged 18–64, the percentage who were uninsured at the time of interview decreased from 20.4% in 2013 to 17.0% in the first 6 months of 2014.
  • Among adults aged 19–25, the percentage who were uninsured at the time of interview decreased from 26.5% in 2013 to 20.1% in the first 6 months of 2014.
  • In the first 6 months of 2014, the percentage of persons under age 65 who were uninsured at the time of interview varied by state. For example, 8.0% were uninsured in Pennsylvania, whereas 23.0% were uninsured in Texas.

Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the 2013 National Health Interview Survey

June 19, 2014

A new report from NCHS updates estimates for 15 selected health measures based on data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and presents estimates from 1997 through 2012 for comparison. The 15 Early Release measures are being published prior to final data editing and final weighting to provide access to the most recent information from NHIS. The estimates will be updated as each new quarter of NHIS data becomes available.

 The 15 measures included in the report are lack of health insurance coverage and type of coverage, having a usual place to go for medical care, obtaining needed medical care, receipt of influenza vaccination, receipt of pneumococcal vaccination, obesity, leisure-time physical activity, current cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing, general health status, personal care needs, serious psychological distress, diagnosed diabetes, and asthma episodes and current asthma.

Please click on the link below to view the results by health measure:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/released201406.htm


Percentage of People Under age 65 in Families Having Problems Paying Medical Bills Decrease

April 9, 2014

A new NCHS report provides updated estimates for the percentage of persons under age 65 who were in families having problems paying medical bills, by selected demographic variables, based on data from five consecutive 6-month periods from January–June 2011 to January–June 2013 of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). In this report, an NHIS “family” is defined as an individual or a group of two or more related persons living together in the same housing unit. Thus, a family can consist of only one person. In some instances, unrelated persons sharing the same household, such as an unmarried couple living together, may also be considered a family.

Key Findings from the Report:

• The percentage of persons under age 65 who were in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 21.7% (57.6 million) in the first 6 months of 2011 to 19.8% (52.8 million) in the first 6 months of 2013.
• Within each 6-month period from January 2011 through June 2013, children aged 0–17 years were more likely than adults aged 18–64 to be in families having problems paying medical bills.
• The percentage of children aged 0–17 years who were in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 23.7% in the first 6 months of 2011 to 21.3% in the first 6 months of 2013.
• In the first 6 months of 2013, among persons under age 65, 34.3% of those who were uninsured, 24.7% of those who had public coverage, and 14.1% of those who had private coverage were in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months.
• In the first 6 months of 2013, 28.6% of poor, 33.3% of near poor, and 14.3% of not poor persons under age 65 were in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months.