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Number of Uninsured in US Rose to 41.2 Million Last Year

September 30, 2002

The number of Americans who lack health insurance rose to 41.2 million in 2001, due mainly to a recession-fueled decrease in the number of workers with coverage from employers, the Census Bureau reported Monday. Combined with rising medical and prescription drug costs and state government spending cuts, the trend of eroding personal health care likely will worsen before it improves, experts say. Overall population growth helped increase the number of people with health insurance by 1.2 million, to 240.9 million last year, according to new Census Bureau figures. But the proportion of Americans without coverage grew from 14.2 percent in 2000 to 14.6 percent last year. An additional 1.5 million adults lost private health coverage in the first quarter of this year, according to CDC. Showing that the recession is taking its toll on white-collar workers, those earning $75,000 or more had the largest percentage increase in uninsured rates: from 7.1 percent uninsured in 2000 to 7.7 percent in 2001. Those earning less than $25,000 were the most likely to lack insurance: 23.3 percent were uninsured.

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Adapted from:
Baltimore Sun
09.30.02; Knight Ridder/Tribune

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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