New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today show that the number of people without health insurance declined by 1.3 million in 2011, falling to 48.6 million people. (Exhibit 1). This is excellent news–the number of uninsured has increased by 12 million people over the past decade, and the latest numbers suggest an important turning point in this upward trend. The decline in uninsured Americans in 2011 was the largest one-year drop in the past decade.
Young adults made strong gains in coverage, continuing a trend that began in 2010 with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The percentage of uninsured young adults ages 19 to 25 without health insurance declined by 2.2 percentage points in 2011, to 27.7 percent, down from 29.8 percent in 2010 and 31.4 percent in 2009 (Exhibit 2).