The Uninsured in Connecticut

Connecticut's Uninsured Population under age 65 1995-1998. For a text representation of this image click here.
Recent Trends
Despite low levels of unemployment and a strong state economy in recent years, the problem of the uninsured continues to grow worse in Connecticut.
bullet According to Census Bureau estimates, Connecticut's uninsured population grew from 289,000 in 1995 to 412,000 in 1998.
bullet In 1995, the uninsured represented 10.3 percent of Connecticut's non-elderly population (i.e., those under the age of 65). By 1998, the comparable figure reached 14.3 percent.
bullet In 1998, Connecticut's proportion of non-elderly uninsured residents (14.3 percent) was somewhat higher than the New England regional average (12.6 percent) but lower that the national average (18.4 percent).
Comparison of Non-Elderly Uninsured populations in 1998. For a text representation of this image click here.

Connecticut's Uninsured Population by Age Group 1990-1998. For a text representation of this image please click here.

The Uninsured by Age Group
bullet During the 1990s,Connecticut's health insurance expansion efforts have mostly targeted uninsured children. Therefore, it may be instructive to analyze the uninsured population by age group.
bullet While the overall percentage of Connecticut's uninsured residents has increased in recent years, the comparable figure for those under age 18 has declined.
bullet As the accompanying graph indicates, the trend lines for uninsured children and the non-elderly uninsured follow a similar pattern for most of the decade. In 1997, however, the two trend lines begin moving in opposite directions. This suggests that some of the state's earlier health coverage expansion efforts may have begun to take hold
bullet While this is an encouraging sign, caution should be used in interpreting this trend. The sample size for the source data - the Census Bureau's March Current Population Survey - is relatively small. As a result, differences from one year to the next are often not statistically significant.
bullet Furthermore, the Census Bureau estimates that in 1998 there were still 85,000 uninsured children in Connecticut - representing 10.1 percent of the population under the age of 18. Therefore, much work remains for state policymakers in this area.
bullet Conversely, this age group analysis shows that more of Connecticut's working-age adults (ages 18 to 64) have lost health coverage in recent years, despite solid job growth and low levels of unemployment.
bullet It appears that many of the jobs created in recent years - especially those in the service sector or with smaller firms - do not come with health benefits. Moreover, due to rising costs and higher coinsurance rates, fewer lower income workers are able to accept health coverage from their employers, even when it is offered.

 

The Need for Better Data and Evaluation
Two recent developments bear further study in the future:
bullet In 1998, the state began enrolling children in the Healthcare for UninSured Kids and Youth program - better known as HUSKY. Uninsured children in families at or below 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) are eligible for free or subsidized coverage.
bullet In July 2000, HUSKY is scheduled to begin accepting parents of children enrolled in the program if the family's income is at or below 185 percent of the FPL. Coverage of parents and children is expected to help strengthen the state's outreach efforts to uninsured families.
bullet As these changes occur and more resources are devoted to this vital program, it will be more important than ever to collect better data and evaluate the effectiveness of the state's efforts in this area.

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