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Press Release

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2009
Contact: National Center for Health Statistics
Office of Communication; (301) 458-4800

Nearly 44 Million in United States Without Health Insurance in 2008

An estimated 43.8 million Americans had no health insurance in 2008, approximately 2.8 million more than in 1997, according to new data from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

The report, "Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2008," presents the latest insurance estimates for the United States.

The report also contains new estimates of health insurance coverage for the 20 largest states, and shows Massachusetts had the lowest percentage of uninsured individuals under age 65 (3.4 percent) in 2008.  In contrast, approximately 1 in 4 persons under age 65 lacked coverage in Florida and Texas, and 1 in 5 lacked coverage in Arizona, California and Georgia.  Nationally, 16.7 percent of those under age 65 were uninsured in 2008.

The report provides information on both private and public insurance coverage. Among the states examined, private coverage rates for people under age 65 ranged from 78.9 percent in Massachusetts to 56.2 percent in Florida.  Nationally, 65.4 percent of people under age 65 had private health insurance coverage.

The report also includes data on children under the age of 18 and shows that the percentage of children with no health insurance was 8.9 percent in 2008, the same as in 2007, but down significantly from 13.9 percent in 1997. A total of 34.2 percent of children had public health coverage. Among the states examined in this report, public coverage for children ranged from 22 percent in New Jersey to 41 percent in Georgia and North Carolina.

In a second report also released today, "Health Insurance Coverage Trends, 1959-2007: Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey," NCHS researchers examined insurance coverage trends during both the pre-and-post-Medicare/Medicaid periods.

Findings in the 1959-2007 report include:

  • Between 1959 and 1968, data on health insurance coverage focused on two insurance types – hospital insurance and surgical insurance.  The percentage of people under age 65 with private hospital insurance increased from 69.1 percent at the time of their interview in 1959 to 79.3 percent in 1968.  The percentage of people under age 65 with private surgical insurance increased from 64.4 percent in 1959 to 77.8 percent in 1968.
  • Private health insurance data has been available on a regular basis beginning in 1968. The percentage of people under age 65 with private insurance coverage remained stable at about 79 percent from 1968 to 1980, and has declined since 1980.
  • Direct questions on Medicare and Medicaid for persons under age 65 were first asked in 1978. Medicaid coverage for individuals under age 65 remained stable at about 7 percent from 1978 to 1990, and has increased since 1990.  Medicaid coverage for those under 65 was 13.9 percent in 2007.
  • The percentage of people under 65 who lacked health insurance increased between 1978 and 1990 and has remained stable since 1990 at between 16 percent and 18 percent.  The report shows that 16.6 percent of those under age 65 had no health insurance in 2007, almost five percentage points higher than in 1978, the first year that comparable estimates of the uninsured are available.
  • The number of people under 65 without health insurance has increased by more than 20 million people since its lowest point in 1978.

The full reports are available at


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