(Reuters) – About 1.6 million more Americans had some form of health insurance coverage despite the COVID-19 crisis last year, helped mainly by enrollment growth in government-sponsored health plans, early data from a U.S. government office showed.
Estimates based on a household survey by the statistics division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Tuesday that a total of 31.6 million, or 9.7% of Americans of all ages, were uninsured last year, down from 33.2 million in 2019.
Among Americans of all age groups, the number of people with public health plan coverage grew by 2.1 million to 123.5 million in 2020, while those that had private health insurance grew by 1.9 million to 200.6 million.
The United States last year saw a steep rise in job cuts compared to 2019, as companies were forced to layoff employees to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 14% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 were uninsured last year, compared to 14.7% in 2019.
Hispanic adults were the most likely to lack health insurance coverage, followed by non-Hispanic black adults, the National Center for Health Statistics survey showed.
Americans with a family income of less than 100% of the federal poverty level, had the highest percentage of coverage from public health plans such as those of Medicaid, Medicare or children’s health insurance program, the survey showed.
Officials said the estimates for last year could be impacted by lower response rates, as lockdowns due to the pandemic forced data collection to switch to a telephone-only mode beginning March 2020.
(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Caroline Humer and Amy Caren Daniel)