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November 18, 2004

Analysis: Employer-provided health insurance declines; taxpayer-funded coverage increases

The percentage of New Yorkers with employer-provided health insurance has declined slightly in recent years, a new analysis of Census Bureau data shows. At the same time, the percentage of New Yorkers with taxpayer-funded health insurance has increased.

There is a significant difference between levels of employer-provided coverage Upstate as opposed to Downstate, according to the analysis of Census data released today by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Based on U.S. Census data, an average of 72 percent of Upstate adults had health coverage through their employment during 2002-2003, compared to 58.8 percent downstate and 63.7 percent statewide.

But in all locations, coverage rates had dipped a point or two from the average of the two previous years, 2000-2001, the analysis shows. Employment-based health-insurance coverage among adults dipped slightly in Upstate New York from 2000-2001 to 2002-2003, but the level of coverage Upstate is more than 13 percentage points higher than downstate and eight points above the state average.

Taxpayer-funded health insurance for adults—including Medicaid, Medicare, and military-sponsored coverage—rose from 10.9 percent to 11.8 percent Upstate, from 13.5 percent to 14.7 percent downstate, and from 12.5 percent to 13.6 percent statewide during the same time periods. This figure does not include taxpayer-financed health-insurance provided to public-sector employees.

“The Facts About Upstate New Yorkers Without Health Coverage: An Update from the 2004 U.S. Census” can be downloaded for free from the “Public Policy and Research” section of the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Web site, www.excellusbcbs.com.

The analysis also shows that the overall uninsured rate— which includes taxpayer-supported insurance coverage, employer-sponsored coverage and private policies bought by individuals—for the three-year average of 2001 to 2003 was 9.9 percent Upstate. That rate compares to 18.6 percent downstate, 15.5 percent statewide, and 15.1 percent nationally.

Upstate New York, defined by this analysis as all counties north of Dutchess and Orange, has a population of nearly 6.3 million. The Upstate population is larger than that of 37 individual U.S. states, yet there are only five states that have a lower uninsured rate.

Of the Upstate uninsured adults, the analysis shows:

Other significant report findings for Upstate New York show:

The release is available here.

View “The Facts About Upstate New Yorkers Without Health Coverage: An Update from the 2004 U.S. Census” at www.excellusbcbs.com/download/files/1fsuninexcellus.pdf.