To Your Health (Insurance)

More Americans are getting coverage

The trend suggests that more African Americans are getting health insurance at work. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that since 1987 employment-based health insurance for blacks rose from 44.4% to 51.7%, while other groups either showed very minimal, or no change, over the past decade.

Overall, the number of people living without health insurance in 1999 declined by 1.7 million from 1998. This drop was the first year-to-year decline since the bureau started tracking health insurance trends in 1987.

Robert J. Mills, author of the bureau’s Health Insurance Coverage: 1999, credits the turnaround to two main occurrences: “The driving force behind the improvement (1998 to 1999) was due to the increase in the likelihood of people having employment-based health insurance,” Mills explains. “[Also,] we added a question in 1999; we asked people who would have fallen into the category of [having] no insurance if they, in fact, had no coverage. We did not ask this question in previous years and it may have added to the increase.”

A review of the bureau’s figures over the past 10 years shows that while employment-based health insurance increased, government-sponsored health insurance (which includes Medicaid, Medicare, and military healthcare) has declined for African Americans.

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