New census figures show rise in uninsured in Illinois and dramatic increase in Missouri
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 16, 2009 - From 2001-2008, Missouri saw a dramatic increase in the number and percentage of its residents who have no health insurance. And the percentage of Missourians with employer-based coverage has dramatically declined.
That's the assessment of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, after examining the latest figures released by the U.S. Census regarding health coverage.
The figures for Illinois were not quite as dire, showing less dramatic change.
The report released today doesn't offer much detail, nor does it ascribe reasons for the increases.
According to the latest Census numbers:
-- Percentage of non-elderly adults without coverage for at least a year: In Illinois, it was 17.4 percent (1.6 million) in 2008, compared to 16.6 percent in 2001. In Missouri, the percentage is 17.5 percent (739,000) -- dramatically up from 13.5 percent in 2001.
-- Percentage with employer-based coverage: In Missouri, it was 68.4 percent in 2008, down from 77.3 percent in 2001. In Illinois, the percentage was 71.6 percent in 2008, compared to 74.2 percent in 2001.
-- Number of workers without coverage: In Illinois, 15.5 percent of workers have no coverage, compared to 15.1 percent in 2001. In Missouri, 15.8 percent of workers have no coverage, dramatically up from 12.6 percent in 2001.
-- High-income people without coverage: An additional 32,000 have been added in Missouri, compared to an additional 66,000 in Illinois.