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The Census Bureau today released its 2011 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE). The estimates show the number of people with and without health insurance for all states and each of the nation's roughly 3,140 counties. The statistics are provided by broad age group, sex, race and Hispanic origin, and at income levels that reflect thresholds for state and federal assistance programs. The data can be used to assess annual changes in health insurance coverage from 2008 through 2011.
The release includes a 2011 highlights document that describes demographic and economic differences in health insurance status across states and counties, as well as geographic variation and time trends in health insurance status. The document also includes a number of maps that are available for download from the SAHIE website.
SAHIE can be a useful tool when evaluating the impacts of health care policy changes at the state and county levels. SAHIE provides estimates of the uninsured at incomes 0 to 138 percent of the federal poverty threshold. This group may qualify for Medicaid in participating states. The 0 to 400 percent group provides estimates of the uninsured population that may qualify for the Health Insurance Exchanges or for Medicaid. To make quick evaluations of your state's potential program participants, visit the SAHIE interactive data and mapping tool on the SAHIE website. The tool allows users to create and download state and county custom tables and thematic maps, and state health insurance coverage time trend charts.
The SAHIE program models health insurance coverage by combining survey data with population estimates and administrative records. Specifically, it uses the American Community Survey, demographic population estimates, aggregated federal tax returns, participation records for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, County Business Patterns, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program participation records, and the 2010 Census.
At present, SAHIE is the only source of health insurance estimates for all counties. There are no county estimates derived from the Current Population Survey. In September, the Census Bureau will release 2012 health insurance coverage estimates for counties with a population of 65,000 or more from the American Community Survey. The following month, similar estimates will be released for counties with a population of 20,000 or more using data collected from 2010 to 2012. In December, for the first time, statistics on health insurance coverage for all areas, regardless of size, will be released based on American Community Survey data collected from 2008 to 2012.
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