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Performance Budget Submission for Congressional Justification

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Table 16. MEPS Products

Product Significance

MEPS Household Component

Full year household component has been released for 1996-1999. Partial data has been released for 2000-2001.

Key Findings: 2001

  • In the first half of 2001, 16.7% of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population were uninsured.
  • Among the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population under 65, more than a third of Hispanics (37.7%) and 20.2% of black non-Hispanics were uninsured during the first half of 2001, compared with 14.9% of white non-Hispanics.
  • Among people under 65, Hispanics accounted for one-fourth (26.3%) of the uninsured civilian noninstitutionalized population even though they represented only 13.1% of the overall population this age.
  • Young adults ages 19-24 were the age group at the greatest risk of being uninsured, with one-third (33.9%) of this group lacking health insurance.

Key Findings: 2000

  • In the first half of 2000, 16.1% of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population were uninsured.
  • Among the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population under 65, more than a third of Hispanics (35.2%) and 23.2% of black non-Hispanics were uninsured during the first half of 2000, compared to only 14.2% of white non-Hispanics.
  • Among people under 65, Hispanics accounted for one fourth (24.9%) of the uninsured civilian noninstitutionalized population even though they represented only 12.9% of the overall population for this age.
  • Young adults aged 19-24 were the age group at the greatest risk of being uninsured, one-third (33.1%) of this group were lacking health insurance.

Key Findings: 1999

  • In the first half of 1999, 15.8% of all Americans were uninsured.
  • Among Americans under 65, 36% of Hispanics and 21% of blacks were uninsured during the first half of 1999, compared with only 14% of whites.
  • Even though Hispanics represented only 13% of the non-elderly U.S. population, they accounted for a fourth (25%) of the entire uninsured population.
  • Young adults ages 19-24 were more at risk of being uninsured than any other age group. Almost a third (32%) of young adults were uninsured.
  • During the first half of 1999, among people under age 65, those who were separated from their spouse were more likely to be uninsured (33%) than people of any other marital status.

Key Findings: 1998

  • About 84% of the U.S. community population had medical expenses, and the mean expense per person with expenses was $2,444.
  • Among those under 65, 82.1% of Americans had public or private insurance coverage.
  • Among adults under 65, married persons were more likely to have health insurance.
  • Over one half of elderly Americans were covered by private insurance; more than 4 in 10 held only public coverage (Medicare with or without Medicaid). This represents a decline in private coverage from 1997 and an increase in public coverage.
  • Less than half of all Hispanic Americans and about half of black Americans were covered by private health insurance, compared to three quarters of whites.
  • Close to a third (31.8%) of Hispanics and a fifth of blacks were uninsured. In contrast only 12% of whites were without insurance.

Key Findings: 1997

  • During the first half of 1997, nearly 30% of children under age 4, one in four children ages 4 6, and close to one in five children ages 7 12 had public health insurance coverage.
  • Young adults (19-24) were most likely to lack health insurance. Over a third of young adults (34.6%) were uninsured.
  • 78.7% of workers were covered by private health insurance, compared to half of individuals who were not employed.
  • Among all racial/ethnic groups, Hispanic males were the most likely to be uninsured; 36.9% lacked coverage.

Key Findings 1996

  • Inpatient hospital care accounts for nearly 4 of 10 dollars spent on health care; Prescribed medications account for about 13% of total expenditures.
  • About 86% of the US civilian population had health care expenses. While the average expense was $2,398 per capita, half of all people had expenses under $559.
  • 19.6% of privately insured children in single-parent families get health insurance coverage from a policyholder not residing in their household.
  • Almost 53% of children covered by Medicaid have at least one parent that works.
  • A greater percentage of workers are being offered health insurance by their employers in 1996 than in 1987; however, a smaller proportion is accepting insurance.
  • Nearly 18% of the population had no usual source of health care in 1996 and about 12% of families reported barriers to receiving needed health services.
  • In 1996, 77.5% of children with a usual source of health care had at least one ambulatory visit, compared to 43.3% of those without a usual source of care.
  • Indicative of higher health care utilization rates during the last months of life, the average number of ambulatory visits for persons who died is about 2.5 higher than the rest of the population.
  • Only 43.2% of the population received dental care in 1996.

MEPS Insurance Component

Tables of estimates are available for 1996 through 2000. MEPS-IC data are used in the calculation of Gross Domestic Product.

Key Findings: 2000 Private-sector

  • The average health insurance premiums in 2000 were $2,655 (for single coverage) and $6,772 (for family coverage). Premiums increased 14.2% and 11.8% respectively over 1999, continuing a trend of increasing premiums each year since 1996.
  • The average employee contributions to the health insurance premiums in 2000 were $450 (for single coverage) and $1,614 (for family coverage). Employee contributions increased 7.1% and 12.2% respectively over 1999, continuing the trend from previous years.
  • The percent of the premiums paid by employees for health insurance coverage in 2000 changed slightly from prior years. (Single contributions went down 1.2 percentage points, family contributions did not significantly change.) It appears that employers in 2000 continue to share the premium increases with their employees at approximately the same ratio as they did in 1996 through 1999.
  • While premiums increased for all types of health insurance plans, those plans that allow enrollees to go to any provider (i.e., a conventional indemnity plan) continue to have the highest premiums and the largest percentage increase over the previous year. Exclusive-provider plans continue to have the lowest premiums and smallest percentage increases over the previous year.
  • Conventional indemnity plans continue to disappear at a significant rate each year. Now only 15% of establishments offer such a plan. Plans that offer a mixture of providers (i.e., PPO types) are still growing in popularity and are the primary type of plan now being offered by most employers. The percent of establishments offering exclusive-provider plans remained constant for another year.
  • The percent of establishments offering health insurance in 2000 was 59.3%, up from 52.9% in 1996.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the percentage of establishments offering health insurance increased from 21.5% to 32.4%. From 1998 to 2000, this percentage dropped to 29.1%.
  • Employers continue to drop offerings of health insurance to their retirees (both under and over 65 years old). In each year since we started measuring this in 1997, there has been a significant decline. Offerings to retirees under age 65 have dropped from 21.6% of establishments in 1997 to only 12.0% in 2000. Offerings to retirees 65 and older have dropped from 19.5% to 10.7% over the same period.
  • Premiums for single coverage were significantly higher than the national average in Connecticut ($3,057), New York ($2,956), and New Jersey ($2,911). Single coverage premiums were below the national average in North Dakota ($2,293), California ($2,365), Colorado ($2,450), Oregon ($2,467), and Pennsylvania ($2,467).
  • Family premiums were significantly higher than the national average in New Jersey ($7,592), New Hampshire ($7,525), Massachusetts ($7,341), Connecticut ($7,292), Maryland ($7,287) and Illinois ($7,220). They were significantly below the national average in Mississippi ($5,983), North Dakota ($6,124), New Mexico ($6,222), and California ($6,227).

Key Findings: 2000 State and local governments

  • The average health insurance premiums for State and local government employees in 2000 were $2,855 (for single coverage) and $6,657 (for family coverage). Premiums increased 10.4% and 10.0% respectively over 1999, continuing a trend of increasing premiums each year since 1996.
  • The average contributions made by State and local government employees to their health insurance premiums in 2000 were $251 (for single coverage) and $1,267 (for family coverage). Employee contributions increased 19.0% and 11.6% respectively over 1999.
  • The largest average health insurance premiums were in New England ($3,441 single / $8,676 family) and the lowest were in the West South Central for single coverage ($2,531) and in the Pacific for family coverage ($6,065).
  • The largest employee contributions paid by government employees for single plans were also in New England ($399). However, the largest employee contributions for family plans were in the West South Central Census division ($2,700). This was unchanged from the findings in 1999.
  • There are strong regional differences in the way that State and local governments subsidize single versus family employee contributions to health insurance. In four of the Census divisions, (New England, Middle Atlantic, East North Central, and Pacific), the percentage of the premium paid by employees for both single and family coverage are similar, or slightly higher for family coverage. In the other five Census divisions (West North Central, South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central and Mountain), employees pay a much higher percentage of the cost for family coverage. This trend has consistently appeared in all five years of the MEPS-IC survey. Similar regional trends occur in the private-sector, but are much more pronounced in the public-sector estimates.
  • The percent of governments offering a choice of plans dropped from 34.7% in 1999 to 27.3% in 2000. This follows an upward trend in plan choice from 1996 through 1998 and a year of no change in 1999.
  • The types of health insurance coverage offered by State and local governments remained consistent from 1999 to 2000, with one significant change. Managed care is still well entrenched in the government workplace—with 85.8% of governments offering some type of managed care plan. Preferred provider plans (offered by 67.7% of the governments) are more common than exclusive provider plans (offered by 29.0% of the governments). The percent of governments offering exclusive provider plans dropped significantly from 1999, when 34.2% were offering this type of plan.
  • Led primarily by smaller State and local governments, the percentage of governments offering health insurance to their retirees under age 65 continues to drop rapidly—from 39.1% in 1999 to 29.9% in 2000. Likewise, offerings to retirees 65 and older also dropped—from 31.6% in 1999 to 21.6% in 2000.

MEPS Resource Center

Beginning in 2000, MEPS Household Survey data not available for broad public distribution are available to researchers and others with approved projects on site at AHRQ. Data are used in a tightly controlled, supervised environment. Permits more use of the data by a broad range of users.

MEPS Workshops

Since 1999, MEPS staff have provided training in how to use this data to nearly 650 researchers and policymakers. These sessions have ranged from 3 hour seminar style presentations to 2 day hands-on practical learning situations. While most of these seminars have been in the Washington DC metro area, we have also conducted workshops in Georgia, Massachusetts, California and Illinois.

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