Going bare: Trends in health insurance coverage, 1989 through 1996

Olveen Carrasquillo, David U. Himmelstein, Steffie Woolhandler, David H. Bor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study analyzed trends in health insurance coverage in the United States from 1989 through 1996. Methods. Data from annual cross- sectional surveys by the US Census Bureau were analyzed. Results. Between 1989 and 1996, the number of uninsured persons increased by 8.3 million (90% confidence interval [CI] = 7.7, 8.9 million). In 1996, 41.7 million (90% CI = 40.9, 42.5 million) lacked insurance. Front 1989 to 1993, the proportion with Medicaid increased by 3.6 percentage points (90% CI = 3.1, 4.0), while the proportion with private insurance declined by 4.2 percentage points (90% CI = 3.7, 4.7). From 1993 to 1996 private coverage rates stabilized but did not reverse earlier declines. Consequently, the number uninsured continued to increase. The greatest increase in the population of insured was among young adults aged 18 to 39 years; rates among children also rose steeply after 1992. While Blacks had the largest percentage increase, Hispanics accounted for 36.4% (90% CI = 32.3%, 40.5%) of the increase in the number uninsured. From 1989 to 1993, the majority of the increase was among poor families. Since then, middle-income families have incurred the largest increase. Northcentral and northeastern states had the largest increases in percent uninsured. Conclusions. Despite economic prosperity, the numbers and rates of the uninsured continued to rise. Principally affected were children and young adults, poor and middle income families, blacks, and Hispanics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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