YUUUGE: Nat'l Health Interview Survey: National Uninsured Rate Falls to 9.0%

Some Guy, July 10th:

Gallup, Today:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The uninsured rate among U.S. adults aged 18 and older was 11.4% in the second quarter of 2015, down from 11.9% in the first quarter. The uninsured rate has dropped nearly six percentage points since the fourth quarter of 2013, just before the requirement for Americans to carry health insurance took effect.

...Again, it's safe to assume that this has gone down as well, although probably not as dramatically as for adults. A similar 36.7% drop would be around 2.2 million children (taking population increase into effect), but even half of that would still lop a good million children off the uninsured tally...or an additional 0.3% of the total population.

In other words, it's likely that the actual uninsured rate for the entire U.S. population (all 320 million of us) is down to around 28 million adults + 4.9 million children, around 33 million total...or 10.3% of the entire population.

The National Health Interview Survey, Today:

  • This is the first report of the year to include 2015 data for selected states.


  • The number of uninsured persons continued to decline from 2013. In the first 6 months of 2015, 28.5 million persons of all ages (9.0%) were uninsured at the time of interview—7.5 million fewer persons than in 2014 and 16.3 million fewer than in 2013.
  • Among adults aged 18–64, the percentage uninsured decreased from 16.3% in 2014 to 12.7% in the first 6 months of 2015. There was a corresponding increase in private coverage, from 67.3% to 70.6%. In 2013, among adults aged 18–64, 20.4% were uninsured and 64.2% had private coverage.
  • Among children under age 18 years, the percentage with private coverage increased from 52.6% in 2013 to 56.0% in the first 6 months of 2015, reversing a 14-year trend of declining rates of private coverage.
  • Among those under age 65, the percentage with private coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges increased from 2.5% (6.7 million) in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 4.0% (10.7 million) in the second quarter of 2015 (April– June).

I'm not necessarily saying that the uninsured rate has dropped even more than my extrapolation of Gallup's Q2 survey; these are two different surveys using different methodology. What I am saying is that whatever Gallup's uninsured survey results are for a given month/quarter/year, you have to knock another percentage point or so off because Gallup doesn't include children, and children always have a lower uninsured rate than adults thanks to programs like CHIP and so forth.

In case anyone questions the veracity of the NHIS, here's their methodology:

This report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) presents selected estimates of health insurance coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population based on data from the January–June 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), along with comparable estimates from the 2010–2014 NHIS. Estimates for 2015 are based on data for 54,097 persons.

Three estimates of lack of health insurance coverage are provided: (a) uninsured at the time of interview, (b) uninsured at least part of the year prior to interview (which includes persons uninsured for more than a year), and (c) uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview. Estimates of public and private coverage, coverage through exchanges, and enrollment in high deductible health plans (HDHPs) and consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) are also presented. Detailed tables show estimates by selected demographics. Definitions are provided in the Technical Notes at the end of this report. 

Here's some other choice bits from the report:

  • Actual total number of uninsured (all ages): 28.5 million (9.0%, down from 36.0 million, or 11.5% in 2014)
  • Children under 18: Uninsured down to 3.3 million (4.5% of around 73.5 million)
  • Adults 18-64: Uninsured down to 24.9 million (12.7% out of around 196.5 million)
  • Adults Over 64: Uninsured down to 300,000 (0.6% out of around 50.0 million people)

There's a whole mess of other charts, tables and data at the link...and even this is just the "early release" version of the report; the full version will be released later.