Census Glitch Overstated Number Without Health Insurance

Friday, March 23rd 2007, 9:43 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Some 1.8 million Americans fell off the government's list of the medically uninsured, but not because they now have health coverage.

The Census Bureau acknowledged Friday that for at least a decade, it has been overstating the number of people without health insurance. So, now it has reissued figures for 2005 and 2004. The bureau plans to issue new numbers in August for every year going back to 1995.

The revised estimates show that 44.8 million people, or 15.3% of the population, were without health insurance in 2005. The original estimate was 46.6 million, or about 15.9% of the population.

The bureau discovered the errors while it was updating a computer system for its Current Population Survey, which yields data on income, employment and health insurance coverage, according to a press release.

The bureau said that some residents were counted as ``not covered'' by insurance when they had reported coverage. No other questions in the survey were affected, the bureau said.