EBRI Issue Brief

Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured: Analysis of the March 1995 Current Population Survey

Feb 1, 1996 28  pages


  • This Issue Brief provides summary data on the insured and uninsured populations in the nation and in each state. It discusses the way health protection has changed for the insured, how the states rank in health insurance protection, and the characteristics most closely related to whether or not an individual is likely to have health insurance protection. The report is based on EBRI analysis of the March 1995 supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) and represents 1994 data—the most recent data available.
  • In 1994, there were 228.1 million nonelderly Americans in the United States, 162.2 million (71.1 percent) of whom were covered by private health insurance. Almost 146 million individuals (64 percent of the population) were covered by an employment-based plan. Over 37 million individuals (16.3 percent) were covered by publicly financed health insurance, and 28.7 million (12.6 percent) were covered by Medicaid.
  • In 1994, 17.3 percent of the nonelderly population—or 39.4 million individuals—were not covered by health insurance. This appears to be a reversal of the trend between 1989 and 1993, when the percentage of the nonelderly population without health insurance increased from 16.1 percent to 18.1 percent. However, caution should be used when making comparisons between the March 1995 CPS and previous years' surveys. The March 1995 CPS utilized a more detailed set of health insurance questions. The new questions appear to have had an effect on responses concerning individual types of private coverage and the uninsured.
  • Currently, Congress is considering Medicaid reform that would transform federal Medicaid funding from an open-ended entitlement to a state-administered program funded with block grants. This transformation would give states almost complete control of Medicaid dollars and would allow them to completely change their Medicaid programs. Past declines in employment-based health insurance were in large part offset by increases in Medicaid coverage. It is possible that future reductions in employment-based coverage will result in larger increases in the uninsured population as states experience increasing budgetary pressures and economic incentives to limit Medicaid eligibility and benefits.