The U.S. Census Bureau today published 2006 estimates of health insurance coverage for each of the nation's counties.
Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) are based on models combining data from a variety of sources, including the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, Census 2000, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program, the County Business Patterns data set and administrative records, such as aggregated federal tax returns and Medicaid participation records.
Although SAHIE currently is the only source for county-level estimates of health insurance coverage status, the Census Bureau in late September will release for the first time health insurance coverage estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS). These ACS single-year estimates will be available for all geographic areas with total populations of 65,000 or more, including all congressional districts. The health insurance question was added to the 2008 American Community Survey to permit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to more accurately understand state and local health insurance needs.
SAHIE is used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in support of its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. The program provides free cancer screenings to low-income, uninsured women.
"The health insurance estimates assist us in determining the level of need for breast and cervical cancer screening in communities nationwide," said Marcus Plescia, director of the CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control in Atlanta. "The data permit us to plan our various programs and help us make decisions on how to allocate resources."
Among numerous combinations of age, sex, income and (for states only) race and Hispanic origin, SAHIE includes data on low-income children. SAHIE offers an important snapshot as to the location and characteristics of those with and without health insurance. These data will help local planners make decisions concerning the number of uninsured in special populations. The data pertain only to those younger than 65.