Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A third of Americans were uninsured in the last two years

A new report shows that a third of people in the US have gone uninsured at some point in the last two years. The advocacy group Families USA released the report today. The percentage translated to 87 million people under the age of 65.

It should be pointed out that this includes people that were uninsured for a portion of those two years as well as the entire period. Even your humble blogger went uninsured for a couple of months while we were switching insurances.

In this Reuters article that we found at Sign On San Diego, reporter Will Dunham gives us more of the insurance stats.

The report assessed how many people under age 65 went without either public or private health insurance for some or all of the two-year period covering 2007 and 2008. People 65 and older are covered by the government's Medicare program.

Of 262 million Americans under 65, 33 percent were uninsured at some point during those two years, according to the report. This included 60.1 million adults and 26.6 million children and teens up to age 18, according to the report.

Among those uninsured, 75 percent had no coverage for at least six months and 60 percent for at least nine months, according to the report based on survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

About 52 percent of individuals and families with incomes between the official poverty line and twice the poverty line - $21,200 to $42,400 of annual income for a family of four - were uninsured at some point during 2007 and 2008.

The government's most recent official estimate, based on Census Bureau figures, put the number of uninsured at 45.7 million in 2007. But that figure included only those who had no coverage for the entire year.

“There are a number of facets that are essential to healthcare reform - bending the cost growth curve and improving quality, but expanding coverage has got to be among the top objectives of healthcare reform,” Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said in a telephone interview.

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