The number of Americans without health insurance is on the decline, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday.
The report shows that between 2010 and 2011, the number of people without coverage decreased from almost 50 million to 48.6 million. Census figures indicate the number of uninsured is declining in Connecticut as well.
The health reform bill aims to cover an additional 30 million Americans by 2014, and several tenets of the legislation have already gone into effect. These include a measure that allows young people to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26. That policy in particular might have affected the number of uninsured nationwide, Edinberg said.
Initial estimates from the Census Bureau show that the number of uninsured in the state declined from about 397,000 in 2010 to about 303,000 in 2011.
However, those single-year figures are based on survey samples, rather than a count of the entire population, meaning they are just an approximation of the actual number of the uninsured. Therefore, the Census and some advocate groups recommend using two-year averages of the data estimates, as opposed to single-year figures. Using the two-year average, representatives of the policy think tank Connecticut Voices for Children said the number of uninsured in Connecticut went from an average of about 354,500 in 2008-2009 to 350,000 in 2010-2011.
Voices senior policy fellow Sharon Langer said that drop isn't statistically significant, but added that the census numbers do indicate that health reform efforts on the state and national level seem to be having a positive effect.
Like Edinberg, she partially credited the provision allowing adult children to remain covered by their parents' policies for a longer period of time.
"That seems to have been a big reason why the uninsured rate went down nationally," Langer said.
She said there also have been several reforms made on a state level in recent years that have helped. These include the expansion of the state's Medicaid program to include more low-income adults and a change in eligibility requirements for the state's Husky program, which provides coverage to children and families.
The Census released data on the median household income and poverty rates in the country. The national median income slipped slightly, from $50,831 in 2010 to $50,054 in 2011. According to the single-year Census figures, the median income in Connecticut dipped incrementally between 2010 to 2011, from $65,998 in 2010 to $65,415 in 2011.
The national poverty rate was not statistically different from 2010 to 2011, with the number of people in poverty dipping 0.1 percent. In Connecticut, it appeared that the percentage of Connecticut residents living in poverty went up between 2010 and 2011, from 8.6 percent to 10.1 percent. The average percent of state residents in poverty in 2010-11 was 9.3 percent, compared with 8.2 percent in 2008-09.
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