Exactly Who Lacks Health Insurance?
The Demographics of America's Uninsured
You know that health care in the USA is in crisis. May 10-16, 2004, is Cover the Uninsured Week". Here is an interesting look at just who these uninsured people are.
The problem of the uninsured in America is growing worse, as noted by organizers of Cover the Uninsured week, May 10-16. According to Census data released in September 2003, almost 44 million people—15.2 percent of the total U.S. population—were uninsured in 2002, up from 14.6 percent in the previous year. This was the largest single–year increase in both the number and rate of uninsured people in a decade.
The percentage of the non-elderly population that is uninsured has climbed steadily from 13.7 percent in 1987 to 17.3 percent in 2002 (with a slight dip of no more than one percentage point around the turn of the century).
Nearly twenty percent of uninsured Americans—8.5 million individuals—are children. While children are more likely to be insured than non-elderly adults, health insurance is particularly important for children. Uninsured children are more likely than insured children to lack a usual source of health care, to go without needed care and to experience worse health outcomes.
• Almost 4 in 10 (39.9 percent) of uninsured children are White, compared to 36 percent Hispanic and 18 percent Black.
• Hispanic children are far more likely to be uninsured (22.7 percent) than non-Hispanic White children (7.8 percent), Black children (13.9 percent), and Asian children (11.5 percent).
• 3 in 10 children (30.3 percent) without coverage are under six years old.
• Almost 1 in 3 uninsured (30 percent) children live in families below the poverty line. Another one-third (33 percent) live in families making between 100 percent and 200 percent of poverty.
• Almost two-thirds (64.7 percent) of all uninsured children live in households in which the family head is employed full-time throughout the year, while only about 16 percent of all uninsured children live in households headed by a family head who did not work the previous year.
• 11.6 percent of children—or 8.5 million—are uninsured. An estimated 5 million uninsured children are eligible for SCHIP or Medicaid but are not enrolled.
• Almost 60 percent of children—43.9 million—are covered through employment-based health insurance.
• In 2002, an estimated 22.6 million children—or 3 in 10 (30.8 percent)—were covered by a public source of health insurance.
• Of these children, an estimated 18.4 million were enrolled in Medicaid, a public health insurance program that covers low-income children, financed through federal and state governments.
• The remainder—an estimated 4.2 million children—were enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)—which includes Medicaid expansion and separate state programs. (SCHIP was created in 1997 to cover children who live in families with income or resources that exceed Medicaid eligibility limits but who cannot afford private coverage. Like Medicaid, SCHIP is financed by a combination of federal and state funds.)
• The decline in employment-based coverage of children from 63.1 percent in 2000 to 59.9 percent in 2002 was offset by an increase in public coverage though Medicaid or SCHIP (from 20.3 percent to 23.9 percent).14
• In 1997, when SCHIP was created, 23 percent of low-income children (living in families with incomes below 200 percent of poverty) were uninsured. By early 2003, 14 percent were uninsured—a reduction of more than one-third. This success is attributable to enrollment in SCHIP and increased enrollment of poor children in Medicaid (through simplified and improved enrollment processes).
Having a job, even a full-time job, does not guarantee access to health insurance.
• Non-elderly full-time workers are more likely to have insurance than non-elderly part-time workers, who are more likely to have insurance than non-elderly non-workers. Among the non-elderly poor, the opposite is true. Non-workers are more like to be insured than part-time workers, who are more likely to be insured than full-time workers.
• More than eight in ten of the non-elderly uninsured (83 percent) live in families where the head of the family works.
• Over one-half (56 percent) of all uninsured working adults are employed full-time throughout the year.
Source of Coverage
Employment-based health insurance continues to be the predominant source of coverage for the non-elderly population.
• Almost two-thirds (64.2 percent) of the non-elderly population had employment-based health insurance in 2002. About one-half were covered in their own name and about one-half received coverage as a dependent.
• Only 6.7 percent of the non-elderly population purchases insurance in the individual market (otherwise known as the non-group market).
• 17 percent of the non-elderly population gets coverage from public sources (Medicaid, Medicare, and the health care systems for active and retired military personnel and their families).
• In 2002, 43.3 million (17.3 percent) non-elderly people were uninsured.
• A national survey conducted in 2003 found that almost six in 10 uninsured adults (59 percent) have been without health insurance for two years or more.
For more information:
Cover the Uninsured Week: May 10-16
This report was distributed by Claretian Publications.
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