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The Census Bureau today issued revised figures on health insurance coverage showing that more Americans have health insurance coverage than previously reported.
The revised estimates show that, in 2005, 44.8 million people, 15.3 percent of the population, were without health insurance – about 1.8 million fewer than the Census Bureau reported in August 2006. Based on the Current Population Survey, the original 2005 estimate was 46.6 million, or about 15.9 percent of the population.
For both 2004 and 2005, the original and revised estimates differ by less than one percent – 0.6 percent for 2005 and 0.7 percent in 2004.
Conversely, an estimated 249 million Americans had coverage, up from the 247.3 million reported in August.
The Census Bureau discovered the need for a revision during a conversion to a more accurate operating system for the Current Population Survey. In improving the quality and timeliness of the data, the Census Bureau noted that, in a small percentage of cases, some residents in a household were tabulated as “not covered” by insurance when they had in fact reported coverage. No other questions in the survey were affected.
“We are committed to ensuring that the nation has the most accurate numbers we can provide in a timely manner,” said Howard Hogan, Census Bureau associate director for demographic programs. “Once the conversion began in October, it took several months to test and verify the problem and then compute the revised figures for 2004 and 2005. The technical verification process was completed in February.”
Hogan added, “We will issue revised figures for the years 1995 to 2003 in August when we release the 2006 health insurance numbers.”
Noting that the impact on health insurance trends is small, Hogan said, “The effect of the revision is relatively constant from one year to the next.” He also said that the Census Bureau routinely issues revisions as it tests its systems and improves its procedures.
The revised estimates and information on the methodology can be found at <http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/hlthins.html>.