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Health Insurance Coverage Improved in U.S. in 2005

Children gained the most, but wide range of coverage from state to state

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of people in the United States without health insurance declined from 15.4 percent in 1997 to 14.2 percent in 2005, with the greatest gains made in coverage for children, according to a study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, coverage varied widely in the 20 states included in the analysis, with Massachusetts having the lowest percentage of uninsured residents (6.5 percent) and Texas having the highest (24.6 percent).

Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., and Michael E. Martinez, M.P.H., of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, analyzed data from the 2005 National Health Interview Survey and compared it with similar information from the 1997-2004 survey. The lack of insurance among survey respondents was classified as current, intermittent (uninsured at some point in the last 12 months) and long term (uninsured at the time of interview for 12 months or longer). Data was available for 20 states.

There were 41.2 million people who were uninsured at the time of the interview, 14.2 percent of the total. In the year prior to the interview, 51.3 million people (17.6 percent of the total) had been without insurance at some point and 29.2 million (10 percent) had been uninsured for at least the last year. About 91.1 percent of children had health coverage compared with 86.1 percent in 1997.

The range of insurance coverage varied widely from state to state. Massachusetts was the state with the best coverage at 93.5 percent while Texas was the worse, at 75.4 percent, among the 20 states included in the analysis.

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