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Group Health Enrollment Continues to Drop

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New Census Bureau health insurance figures show that the number of U.S. residents in employer-sponsored plans fell 0.9% between 2009 and 2010, to about 169 million.

The number fell of people in private employer-sponsored plans was down from about 171 million the year before, and the share of U.S. residents covered by private employer-sponsored plans fell to 55.3% in 2010, down from 56.1% the year before.

The percentage of the 306 million U.S. residents who had no health coverage at all increased to 16.1%, from 16.3%.

The number of U.S. residents with private, “direct purchase coverage” – individual coverage, family coverage and coverage bought through associations – increased 3.6%, to about 30 million, and the number with military or civilian government coverage increased 1.9%, to 95 million.

The Census Bureau began recording detailed health insurance enrollment figures in 1987, when the share of the population enrolled in employer-sponsored plans stood at 62.1%. In 2010, the share of the U.S. population in private employer-sponsored plans dropped to the lowest level the bureau has recorded during that period.

The Census Bureau did find some bright spots: The percentage of U.S. residents with annual household incomes over $75,000 and no health coverage fell to 8%, from 8.3%.

The percentage of young adults ages 18 to 24 with no health coverage fell to 27.2%, from 29.3%.

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