The number of Americans with health insurance fell in 2009. About 253.6 million people had public or private health coverage in 2009, down from 255.1 million in 2008. The decline marks the first decline since the government began tracking the figure in 1987, according to Bloomberg.

About 50.7 million people lacked health insurance in 2009, up almost 10% from 46.3 million in 2008.

This has already proved to impact health insurers’ business. In late August, INN reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield companies saw their share of hardships in 2009.

According to A.M. Best, the companies experienced a decline in underwriting earnings from upticks in the health care expense and the sales, general & administrative (SG&A) expense ratios as well as by lower premiums due to the recession. Investment income also declined due to continuously low interest rates.

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