September 12, 2012. One piece of good news from the Census Bureau data released today is an increase in the percentage of people with health insurance in New York State and across the country in 2011.

The share of New Yorkers without health insurance dropped last year, according to preliminary state Census Bureau figures. Roughly one in eight New Yorkers did not have health insurance coverage in 2011, a decrease of three percent from 2010. A similar, though less pronounced, change was seen around the United States. In the country as a whole, the share of people without health insurance coverage decreased by less than one percent.

Most of the change in New York is due to an almost 3 percent increase in Medicaid coverage accompanied by much lesser but contributing growth in Medicare coverage and employer-provided health insurance. For children under 18 years of age, there was a decline of only 1.5 percent in those who were not covered by health insurance.

The continuing slow economic recovery may explain the increase in Medicaid coverage in New York in 2011. At the same time, the young adult provision in the Affordable Care Act, in effect since September 2010, has held private coverage steady for the nation and has increased such coverage in New York State. The erosion in private coverage over time remains a concern that various provisions of the ACA scheduled for implementation in 2014 are intended to address.

FPI’s Senior Fiscal Policy Analyst, Carolyn Boldiston, said, “It’s impressive to see health-care coverage expand at a time when the economy is still so weak. It just shows the importance of government policy, really making a difference in New Yorkers’ lives.”

These figures are one-year estimates from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The CPS asks about health insurance during the previous year (“entire year”). A person uninsured at the time of the survey but insured at a different point during the year is identified as insured in the CPS.

Link to pdf of charts.