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Contact: Robert Bernstein
Public Information Office
The U.S. Census Bureau today released 2007 estimates of health insurance coverage for each of the nation's roughly 3,140 counties. Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) are currently the only source for estimates of health insurance coverage status for every county in the nation.
SAHIE are based on models combining data from a variety of sources, including the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, 2000 Census, 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.
SAHIE provide information on health insurance coverage by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, and income categories at the state level and by age, sex and income categories at the county level. They therefore enable local planners to determine, for instance, the counties in which low-income children are most likely to lack health insurance coverage. The data pertain to those under age 65.
“In Colorado, like in many western states, there is such a variation in the number of uninsured from county to county and the needs of the individuals who live in frontier counties or in rural or urban counties,” says Joan Henneberry, Executive Director of Colorado Health Care Policy and Financing. “To have county-level data on health insurance by demographic characteristics really helps to develop the right strategy for coverage and access, and to be better able to monitor success.”
SAHIE are 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 in determining the level of need for breast and cervical cancer screening in communities nationwide.
In September, the Census Bureau will release health insurance coverage estimates from the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS). These single-year estimates will be available for counties and other geographic areas with total populations of 65,000 or more. The health insurance question was added to the 2008 ACS to permit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to more accurately understand state and local health insurance needs. Eventually the ACS will have health insurance coverage data for smaller areas from three-year and five-year estimates.