Monday, February 09, 2009

A new study on the uninsured in the US

Most low income people who lose their jobs are also without health insurance, according to a new study on the uninsured in the US.

Families USA conducted the study, they found that 54 percent of unemployed people cannot afford health insurance and are not eligible for Medicaid.

The details of the report come from this Associated Press article that we found at the San Francisco Chronicle, writer Kevin Freaking gives us the details.

The report focuses on middle-class and lower-income workers with annual incomes of about $44,100 for a family of four, or about double the poverty level.

Only one in five unemployed workers within that income level has private insurance or military coverage. Meanwhile, only one in four unemployed workers at that level got coverage through Medicaid, the government sponsored insurance program for the poor.

In December 2008, there were an estimated 5.8 million people out of work with incomes below twice the poverty level, and about 3.1 million of them did not have insurance, Families USA estimated.

The report was compiled as lawmakers consider expanding access to Medicaid and subsidizing the cost of maintaining private coverage, also called COBRA, through an economic stimulus bill.

"Most laid-off workers can't afford COBRA coverage and do not qualify for public health safety-net programs," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. "As a result, millions of middle-class and lower-income workers become uninsured."

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