Monday, July 18, 2011

More Than One In Ten Uninsured At Least One Year

In 2010, 11.7%, or 35.7 million Americans, had been uninsured for more than a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported recently. The study, Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2010, found that 48 million individuals (16%) were uninsured in 2010, and 60.3 million (19.8%) had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to the survey.

The NCHS found that 61.2% of individuals were covered in 2010 by a private health insurance plan. Nearly two-thirds (64.1%) of adults ages 18 to 64 were covered by a private plan, compared with 53.8% of children younger than age 18. In 2010, 22% of persons under age 65 years were covered by public plans at the time of interview. More than one-third of children (39.8%) were covered by a public plan, compared with 15% of adults ages 18 to 64.

Uninsured status varied by demographic characteristics, as follows:
Poverty status. The NCHS found that 42.2% of poor adults ages 18 to 64 were uninsured in 2010. Also, 10.2% of poor children did not have health insurance.
• Race/ethnicity. Hispanic individuals were more likely than all other races to be uninsured. The survey found 30.4% of Hispanics were uninsured in 2010, compared with 19% of African-Americans, and 11.6% of whites.
Age and sex. For all individuals younger than age 65, the percentage who were uninsured in 2010 was highest among those ages 19 to 25 (33.9%), and lowest among those younger than age 18 (7.8%). In addition, the NCHS found that men were more likely than women to lack health insurance coverage: 18.2%, compared with 13.9%.
Region. In 2010, the percentage of persons who were uninsured among the 20 largest states ranged from 4.0% in Massachusetts (which has a coverage mandate) to 26.1% in Arizona. In addition, the NCHS noted that lack of health insurance coverage was greatest in the South and West regions of the United States. Nationally, 7.8% children in 2010 lacked coverage in 2010, but rates were higher in Arizona (22.6%), Florida (14.0%), and Texas (12.6%).

Meanwhile, rising health care costs, along with the current depressed state of the economy, have prompted many health care consumers to delay care, alter household spending, and worry about their ability to pay for future health care costs, according to new research from Deloitte. One-quarter of U.S. consumers have skipped seeing a doctor when sick or injured, 19% delayed or skipped treatment recommended by a doctor, and 36% have asked their doctor to prescribe a generic drug instead of a brand name drug to save money. And nearly one-quarter of Americans (23%) are not confident of their household capacity to handle future health care costs, while two-fifths (38%) assign the U.S. health care system failing grades.

A recent study discussed in a July 8 post revealed that having health insurance made a difference in insureds’ health and access to health care services, including prevention. Maybe the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will help improve the health of the U.S. population through coverage expansion.

You can obtain access to a comprehensive analysis of the ACA, including the full text of the law and additional information on health reform implementation and other recent developments in employee benefits, here.


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