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Addressing the Needs of the Uninsured in a Challenging Economic Environment

Slide Presentation by Len Nichols, Ph.D.

On March 12, 2002, Len Nichols, Ph.D., made a presentation in a Web-assisted teleconference at Session 1, which was entitled "Trends in the Uninsured: Impact and Implications of the Current Economic Environment."

This is the text version of Dr. Nichol's slide presentation. Select to access the PowerPoint® slides (700 KB).

Trends in the Uninsured: Impact and Implications of the Current Economic Environment

Len Nichols, Ph.D.
Vice President
Center for Studying Health System Change

Slide 1

Uninsurance and Unemployment Rates

This slide shows the change over time in the unemployment rate and nonelderly uninsurance rate. In 1987, the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, which decreased slightly until 1989, and then gradually increased until 1992 when the unemployment rate was at a high of 7.5 percent. Since 1992 this graph shows the unemployment rate gradually decreasing to a low of 4.0 percent in 2000. In contrast, this graph shows the nonelderly uninsurance rate gradually increasing over time from 14.8 percent in 1987 to 18.4 percent in 1998. After 1998 the graph shows a decrease in the nonelderly uninsurance rate to 15.8 percent in 2000.

Note: Data on uninsurance rates for 1999 and 2000 are not directly comparable to prior years due to a change in the survey instrument.

Source: Uninsurance rates: Employee Benefits Research Institute analysis of the 1988-99 March Supplements to the Current Population Survey (1987-98 data years) and U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Reports, 2000 (1999-2000 data years); Unemployment rates: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Slide 2

Own vs. Dependent Coverage

This slides shows a graph of change over time in both own and dependent coverage. In 1987, approximately 72 million people had coverage in their own name. This increased slightly until 1989, and then decreased to 71.7 million in 1992. After 1992 the number of people with coverage in their own name increased sharply to 74.9 million in 1993, and then continued to increase gradually to 80.3 million 1999. In 1987, approximately 76 million people had dependent coverage, which decreased gradually until 1992 to 74.3 million. Between 1992 and 1993 this number decreased sharply to 69.9 million, and has continued to gradually increase over time to 78.1 million in 1999. The two lines cross each other in 1992.

Source: Employee Benefits Research Institute analysis of the 1988-2000 March supplements to the Current Population Survey.

Slide 3

Who Is Likely to Be Uninsured?

Hispanics: 31 percent
Blacks: 17 percent
Whites: 10 percent

All Adults: 16 percent
All Children: 9 percent
Poor: 32 percent
Near Poor: 25 percent
2-4*poverty: 12 percent
Above 4*poverty: 6 percent

South: 17 percent
West: 16 percent
Northeast: 11 percent
Midwest: 10 percent

Source: 2000-2001 Community Tracking Household Survey.

Slide 4

Who Lost Coverage in the Last Recession?

  • Whites.
  • High Income (above 4*poverty).
  • All regions but the Northeast.

Source: Analysis of Current Population Survey, 1992 vs. 1990

Slide 5

Some Facts about the 39 Million Uninsured

Percent of Uninsured With Access To...

Income Percent
of Uninsured
Poverty 30% 12% 36%
1-2*poverty 30% 36% 24%
2-4*poverty 27% 46% 9%
4*poverty + 13% 55% 1%
Overall 100% 31% 20%

Source: Analysis of 1999 CPS data, non-elderly population.

Slide 6

Implications for State and Local Policymakers

This slide shows a picture of a man at a crossroads.

Slide 7

Is There an End in Sight?

This slide shows a picture of a crystal ball.

Current as of June 2002

Internet Citation

Trends in the Uninsured: Impact and Implications of the Current Economic Environment. Slide Presentation by Len Nichols, at Web-Assisted Teleconference, "Addressing the Needs of the Uninsured in a Challenging Economic Environment." Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

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