TUESDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- A new government report finds that 46.3 million Americans went without health insurance in 2011, and more than 34 million of them had already been uninsured for more than a year.
The report, released Tuesday by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), draws on data from more than 100,000 people questioned as part of the annual National Health Interview Survey.
Overall, nearly one in five Americans (19.2 percent) went without health care coverage during at least part of 2011, the NCHS reports.
Rates of uninsured people varied widely between states, ranging from a low of under 4 percent in Massachusetts to a high of 22.6 percent in Nevada, the report's authors found.
"Lack of health insurance coverage was greatest in the South and West regions of the United States," the researchers wrote.
Seven percent of U.S. children lacked insurance coverage in 2011, and about 11 percent experienced a lack of coverage for at least part of the year.
There was some good news, however: the percentage of young adults aged 19 to 25 who were uninsured declined from just under 34 percent in 2010 to about 28 percent the following year. As part of the Affordable Care Act, children aged 25 and under can now be included in their parents' health insurance plans. Indeed, the number of these young adults who entered private health care plans jumped by 51 percent from 2010 to 2011, the report found.
Still, 8.9 million people aged 19 to 25 lacked coverage in 201l, the data showed.
Income levels and level of education seemed closely tied to whether or not a person had health insurance as well. For example, more than 40 percent of "poor" or "near-poor" adults under the age of 65 lacked insurance, the report found, although that was a decline from the 43 percent for this group in 2010.
And more than 35 percent of adults without a high school diploma said they had gone without health insurance for at least part of 2011, a rate that is much higher than people with more than a high school education.
Here's more on the Affordable Care Act.
-- E.J. Mundell
SOURCE: Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2011, National Center for Health Statistics, June 19, 2012
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