The percentage of U.S. residents under age 65 who had private health insurance fell to 61.4% in 2010, from 62.9% in 2009.

Over the same period, the percentage of U.S. residents under age 65 who were uninsured increased to 16.3%, from 15.4%.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published those figures in an early release of data gathered through the National Health Interview Survey.

Based on extrapolations, the number of people without any public or private health coverage at the time of the interview probably increased to 49.5 million in 2010, from 46.3 million people in 2009. About 2.8 million of the newly uninsured people were ages 18 to 64, and 400,000 were ages 65 or older.

The percentage of U.S. residents ages 18 to 64 with private health coverage has fallen from 72.8% in 1997. The percentage has decreased every year since 2006.

The uninsured rate was highest – 32.6% — for people ages 18 to 24 and lowest – 8.2% — for children.

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