Census: State Snapshot of Health Insurance in 2012

September 17th, 2013

Today, the United States Census Bureau released preliminary estimates of the number of Americans with and without health insurance for 2012. These estimates are from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides national data on a wide-range of economic issues and labor force statistics, including poverty, income, and health insurance coverage.

Snapshot of Health Insurance Coverage in 2012

In 2012, almost 500,000 Mississippians (18% of the population) under age 65 did not have health insurance. Similarly, nationwide, 18 percent of non-elderly adults did not have health insurance.

The percentage of Mississippians without health insurance fell last year – from 21.9 percent in 2011 to 18 percent in 2012. Additionally, the proportion of Mississippians without health insurance is comparatively the same to over a decade ago. In 2012, 18 percent of Mississippians were uninsured, compared to 16.5 percent of Mississippians in 2000.  This trend is the same for the United States; 18 percent of Americans did not have health insurance last year, compared to 15 percent of Americans in 2000.

Fewer Mississippians had health insurance through their employer in 2012 than over a decade ago. Over half (53.7 percent) of Mississippians carried health insurance through their employer in 2012, compared to 64.2 percent of Mississippians in 2000. Further, 58.4 percent of people in the U.S. carried health insurance through their employer last year, compared to 68.7 percent in 2000. See Chart 1. 

What can Mississippi do?

These findings reveal a candid snapshot of the high number of Mississippians who continue to lack health insurance, underscoring the need for continued health care reform. One of the most promising opportunities to address the high rate of uninsured residents includes Medicaid Expansion. Earlier this year, Mississippi leaders refused federal funds to expand Medicaid to cover an additional 300,000 working Mississippians. Most of these Mississippians – those with incomes too high for Medicaid but too poor to qualify for the health insurance Marketplace – will not be able to afford insurance through the Marketplace and will be left with no other way to get health insurance.

Medicaid Expansion still remains an incredibly good deal for the state of Mississippi. It provides an opportunity to bring billions of dollars into the state, as well as create jobs while increasing access to health insurance. As more Mississippians gain access to health insurance, they will become healthier, miss less work and become more productive.

Later this week, MEPC will share data from the American Community Survey (ACS) on poverty and income.

Source: United States Census Bureau, Community Population Survey, 2012.

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