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New Census Bureau health insurance figures suggest that the number of U.S. residents in employer-sponsored plans plunged 3.7% between 2008 and 2009.

The number fell of people in private employer-sponsored plans fell to a little below 170 million in 2009, according to census figures.

The group plan enrollment number fluctuated between 175 million and 180 million from 2000 to 2008, and, before that period, it had not been below 170 million since 1997, when the Census Bureau found about 166 million people in group health plans.

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