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CDC Report Shows Long-Term Decrease in Number of Uninsured

May 13, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the National Center for Health Statistics recently published data stating that 30.4 million Americans of all ages were uninsured in 2018, down 18.2 million since 2010.

While report writers, Robin A Cohen, PhD, Emily P Terlizzi, MPH, and Michael E Martinez, MPH, MHSA, of the Division of Health Interview Statistics and National Center for Health Statistics recognized that 2018’s 30.4 million uninsured is not significantly different from 2017’s 29.3 million, there is a sizeable difference than 2010, before the ACA. 

“The take-home message from this report is found in the number of Americans who no longer lack health insurance,” a CDC spokesperson said in an interview. “There are 18.2 million fewer uninsured persons than in 2010.”

The report pooled data from estimates of health insurance coverage for civilian, noninstitutionalized populations from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey and previous years. Dr Cohen and colleagues explained that estimates for 2018 are based on data for 72,762 persons.

Key takeaways from the full report include:

  • In 2018, among adults aged 18–64, 13.3% were uninsured at the time of interview, 19.4% had public coverage, and 68.9% had private health insurance coverage.
  • In 2018, among children aged 0–17 years, 5.2% were uninsured, 41.8% had public coverage, and 54.7% had private health insurance coverage.
  • Among adults aged 45–64, the percentage who were uninsured increased from 9.3% in 2017 to 10.3% in 2018.
  • Among adults aged 18–64, 68.9% (136.6 million) were covered by private health insurance plans at the time of interview in 2018. This includes 4.2% (8.4 million) covered by private health insurance plans obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges.

Debate continues in Washington DC on the constitutional merits of the ACA, as well as discussions of its efficacy. According to the CDC’s report data, persons residing in states operating with ACA provisions, such as Medicaid Expansion, were less likely to uninsured than those in nonexpansion states. The percentage of uninsured adults decreased from 18.4% in 2013 to 9.9% in 2018.

—Edan Stanley


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health insurance coverage: early release of estimates from the national health interview survey, 2018. 09 May 2019. Accessed, May 13, 2019.



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