Sept. 17—The number of people without health insurance fell last year by 600,000 from 48.6 million, but it was not a statistically significant decrease, according to Census Bureau figures released Tuesday.

The annual Census Bureau report also noted that the percentage of the uninsured dropped to 15.4 percent in 2012 from 15.7 percent in 2011. The latest figures were the least uninsured since 2008, when 44.8 million people, or 14.9 percent of the population, were uninsured.

The biggest changes in the uninsured rate were among people under 19 years old and among people 19 to 25 years old, which both dropped 0.5 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Government-provided coverage increased 0.4 percent to 32.6 percent of the population, while other types of coverage remained unchanged or declined.

“The increase in public coverage and no statistical change in private coverage may account for the increase in overall coverage,” David S. Johnson, chief of the social, economic, and housing statistics division at the Census Bureau, said in a call with reporters.

Much of the increase in government-provided coverage appeared to stem from Baby Boom generation beneficiaries aging into Medicare. Medicare enrollments increased by 500,000 people to 15.7 million people. In contrast, Medicaid coverage dipped slightly.

The racial group with the most improvement in their rate of uninsured was Asians, whose rate dropped from 16.8 percent to 15.1 percent uninsured.

Out-of-pocket healthcare spending continued to increase, with median spending increasing 5 percent from $2,584 in 2011 to $2,707 in 2012.

Publication Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013