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Census Bureau to release annual uninsured report in September


The U.S. Census Bureau in mid-September will release its annual report on the number of people in the United States without health insurance, with attention expected to be focused on whether the improvement in the economy in 2013 as well as the health care reform law has kept coverage steady or even boosted it.

The report showing the 2013 coverage rate will be released Sept. 16.

In 2012, the, the number of uninsured fell to 48.0 million, down from 48.6 million in 2011, while the percentage of the population without coverage fell to 15.4% from 15.7%. Those changes, though, were not statistically different, the Census Bureau said.

The percentage of people covered through employer-sponsored plans in 2012 was 54.9%, which also was not statistically different compared with the 55.1% coverage rate in 2011.

But by holding steady in 2012 and 2011, those two years were the first since 2000 that the coverage rate through employment-based plans did not fall.

Provisions in the health care reform law, such as one that generally took effect on Jan. 1, 2011, that required employers to extend coverage to employees' adult children up to age 26, as well as the improvement in the economy, are widely credited with keeping the coverage rate steady.

The report findings, though, will not reflect the big increases in coverage this year due to a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision providing federal premium subsidies for the low income uninsured — those making up to 400% of the federal poverty level — to purchase coverage in public insurance exchanges. That provision took effect Jan. 1.

In addition, more than two dozen states expanded their Medicaid programs with rich federal support authorized by the PPACA.