Number of Americans without health insurance falls to record low, says CDC

The number of Americans without health insurance dropped to a record low of 25.3 million people, or 7.7% of the population, in the first three months of 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Those numbers included record lows of 4.2% of children and 11% of working-age adults between 18 and 64 who had no health insurance between January and March, the federal agency found.

“The estimates in these tables are based on preliminary files and we do not disaggregate by type of private health insurance or type of public coverage,” Robin Cohen, acting associate director for science at the National Center for Health Statistics’ Division of Health Interview Statistics, told The Washington Times.

Nearly two-thirds of people under age 65 were covered by private health insurance and a little more than a quarter had public health coverage in the first three months of this year, the CDC reported.

Other key findings:

• The percentage of uninsured children remained relatively stable from January 2022 through March 2023.

• 1 in 4 Hispanic adults aged 18-64 (25.0%) lacked health insurance, more than Black adults (10.1%), White adults (6.9%) and Asian adults (2.7%).

• Among adults aged 18-64, uninsured rates were highest in the South (16.1%) and lowest in the Northeast (5.9%).

The report did not explain the reasons for the trend and CDC officials declined to speculate.

Some health experts not involved in the report noted that it stopped one month short of April, when Medicaid ended a continuous enrollment policy implemented during COVID-19 that had kept states from performing annual eligibility reviews to disenroll ineligible patients.

Congressional expansion of continuous enrollment during the pandemic is the main reason the number of uninsured Americans hit an all-time low, said Pavani Rangachari, director of the health care administration program at the University of New Haven.

“While the improvements in insurance coverage during the pandemic were widespread, they were particularly large for Hispanic people, those in low-income families, and among people in working families, including those with only part-time workers in the family,” Ms. Rangachari told The Times.

Officials have estimated that the resumption of annual reviews could purge up to 14 million people from Medicaid coverage in coming months — including many who enrolled during the pandemic — for procedural reasons and due to fluctuations in household income.

Future government reports on the second and third quarters of this year will be necessary to confirm whether that happens.

“Congressional COVID policies have kept states from disenrolling millions of ineligible people from Medicaid for the past few years,” Katy Talento, an epidemiologist, said in an email. She served as President Trump’s top health adviser at the White House Domestic Policy Council before the pandemic. “It’s likely that the numbers will revert to prior levels once disenrollment slows down.”

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

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