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July 08, 2001

The Commerce Department's Census Bureau said it will revise its methodology to estimate the number of people with and without health insurance. Research indicated that when follow-up questions were used, about 8 percent of those previously classified as not having health insurance reported that they were in fact insured. This change will occur
when estimates for 2000 are released next month. Had this methodology been used last year, the number of people without health insurance in 1999 would have been 39.3 million, down from the 42.6 million published in September 2000.

Prompted by findings in other household surveys, the Census Bureau added new health insurance questions in the March 2000 Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) to ascertain whether people who responded "no" to a series of broad, standard questions on health insurance coverage were actually uninsured. The results of the research will be released in a paper to be presented at an American Statistical Association meeting in Atlanta at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 7.

"Following extensive testing and evaluation by Census Bureau staff, we believe that including follow-up verification questions results in more complete and accurate estimates of the population covered by health insurance," said William G. Barron Jr., the Census Bureau's acting director. "Future releases of health insurance estimates will be based on answers to questionnaires that have the verification questions."

A timeline and fact sheet on the modification of the CPS health are available CLICK below:

http://www.census.gov/hhes/hlthins/verif.html

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