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Census Bureau Publishes Health Insurance Coverage Estimates for All Counties

July 27th, 2010 by Bruce Abbott

This is from a July 27, 2010, press release from the Census Bureau:

The U.S. Census Bureau today released 2007 estimates of health insurance coverage for each of the nation’s roughly 3,140 counties. Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) are currently the only source for estimates of health insurance coverage status for every county in the nation.

SAHIE are based on models combining data from a variety of sources, including the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, 2000 Census, the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program, the County Business Patterns data set, and administrative records, such as aggregated federal tax returns and Medicaid participation records.

SAHIE provide information on health insurance coverage by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, and income categories at the state level and by age, sex and income categories at the county level. They therefore enable local planners to determine, for instance, the counties in which low-income children are most likely to lack health insurance coverage. The data pertain to those under age 65.

SAHIE are used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in support of its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. The program provides free cancer screenings to low-income, uninsured women. The health insurance estimates assist in determining the level of need for breast and cervical cancer screening in communities nationwide.

In September, the Census Bureau will release health insurance coverage estimates from the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS). These single-year estimates will be available for counties and other geographic areas with total populations of 65,000 or more. The health insurance question was added to the 2008 ACS to permit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to more accurately understand state and local health insurance needs. Eventually the ACS will have health insurance coverage data for smaller areas from three-year and five-year estimates.