New Census Bureau data released Tuesday shows that the share of Americans without health insurance dipped slightly last year, although more children and older Americans gained health coverage, Business Insurance reported

 

A larger percentage of Iowans were without health insurance than 12 years ago, however.

 

The share of uninsured people in the United States decreased to 15.4 percent, down from 15.7 percent a year earlier, according to Current Population Survey data. Approximately 48 million Americans were uninsured in 2012, which was not statistically different from the prior year.

 

In Iowa, 11.6 percent of residents under age 65 were uninsured on average in 2011 and 2012, a 2.4 percentage point increase from 1999-2000, according to figures provided by the Iowa Fiscal Partnership.

 

"Iowans are less likely to receive health insurance through their jobs, a trend we have seen for some time, while private insurance has become increasingly costly," said Peter Fisher, research director for the Iowa Policy Project, part of the Iowa Fiscal Partnership.

 

Public health insurance programs, including the Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa program and Medicaid, have helped the state to prevent the number of uninsured children from rising over the past 12 years, Fisher said, despite a large decrease in the number of children covered by their parents' employer-based policies.

 

The data shows that over 12 years, the number of Iowa children covered by employer-sponsored insurance has dropped by 114,000.

 

Employment-based coverage for Iowans under 65 fell by nearly 12 percentage points over the 12-year period, going from 76.3 percent in 1999-2000 to 64.5 percent in 2011-12. Nearly 187,000 fewer Iowans had coverage through an employer-based plan in that period, according to Census Bureau data.

 

The Iowa Fiscal Partnership said the number of uninsured Iowans should decline dramatically beginning next year through the Medicaid expansion and the new online insurance marketplaces.

 

The federal health care overhaul did not have a major impact on insurance coverage in 2012, census officials and experts said.  They don't expect to see any significant impact until 2015, when the 2014 figures are reported.

 

The report does show that companies were not dropping coverage in 2012, ahead of health reform. Some 54.9 percent of Americans had employment-based plans, not statistically changed from a year earlier, though down from nearly 63 percent over the past decade.