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Reversing the Trend? Understanding the Recent Increase in Health Insurance Coverage among the Nonelderly Population

This brief examines why the number of nonelderly uninsured people in the U.S. declined by 1.2 million in 2011, the latest year for which Census data are available. The analysis finds that the decrease – a reversal of the rise in the uninsured in previous years stemming from the recent recession – was the result of an increase in coverage through public programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Most of the growth in public coverage, and the attendant reduction in the nonelderly uninsured, was concentrated among adults, while the number of uninsured children was largely unchanged between 2010 and 2011, according to the analysis, authored by researchers at the Urban Institute for the Foundation. The paper includes discussions of trends in coverage by work status, race and ethnicity and region, and of the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

Brief (.pdf)