STATCAST – Week of May 6, 2019

New Reports on Prescription Drug Use and Health Insurance


It’s been a busy week for NCHS. On May 8, a new report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was released on prescription drug use in the United States. The report shows that prescription drug use in the past month among children has declined since 2007-2008. Analysts say this decline could be explained in part by a reduction in antibiotic use among children. Bronchodilators such as asthma inhalers were the most commonly-used prescription drugs among these young children, while central nervous system stimulants such as those prescribed for ADHD were the most common drugs used among adolescents ages 12-19. Antidepressants were the most commonly used prescription drugs among adults ages 20-59, while cholesterol-lowering medication were the most common drugs used by adults age 60 and up.

Another major report released this week featured health insurance coverage estimates for 2018, from the National Health Interview Survey. The report shows that 9.4% of Americans or 30.4 million people did not have health insurance in 2018, not statistically different than the 9.1% or 29.3 million that were uninsured in 2017.  Among those under age 65, 11.1% were uninsured in 2018, higher but not statistically different than the 10.7% who were uninsured the year before.  However, among those under age 65, in the last half of 2018, there were 11.8% uninsured in Quarter 3 and 11.9% uninsured in Quarter 4, which was a significant increase from the 10.3% who were uninsured during the first two quarters of 2018.