Census: 3M people gained insurance last year

The uninsured population declined for a second year in a row, although it saw a slight decrease from 15.7 percent to 15.4 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

The additional 3 million people who gained insurance between 2011 and 2012 was largely attributed to an increase in Medicare and Medicaid enrollment, the Census report found.

"The percentage of people covered by government programs increased for the sixth consecutive year," said David Johnson, chief of the social, economics, housing and statistics division at the Census Bureau, the Washington Post's Wonkblog reported. "The increase in public coverage, and no statistical change, may account for increase in overall coverage."

One of the biggest increases in the insured population occurred among children. The percentage of children without insurance dropped from 9.4 percent in 2011 to 8.9 percent in 2012. "Uninsurance is already low for children, and the fact that it still appears to be declining is an encouraging sign," Genevieve Kenney, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, told Kaiser Health News. "It shows when there is a concerted public policy focus on a problem, it can pay off."

Meanwhile, the number of people with private insurance rose slightly from 197.3 million in 2011 to 198.8 million in 2012, but the difference was statistically insignificant. 

To learn more:
- here's the Census report (.pdf)
- read the Washington Post's Wonkblog article
- see the Kaiser Health News article

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