Number of Uninsured is greatly undercounted, 1/3 of Americans were uninsured for some or all of 2006

Wrong Direction: One Out of Three Americans Are Uninsured 

Families USA, Sept 20, 2007

Families USA commissioned The Lewin Group to analyze data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). This analysis enabled us to determine how many people were uninsured for some portion of the 2006-2007 two-year period.  Key findings:

More Americans Are Uninsured: 1999-2000 to 2006-2007

  • 89.6 million people under the age of 65 went without health insurance for some or all of the two-year period from 2006-2007.
  • 72.5 million people under the age of 65 went without health insurance for some or all of 1999-2000.
  • The number of people who were uninsured at some point in a two-year period increased by more than 17 million between 1999-2000 and 2006-2007.
  • More than one out of three people (34.7 percent) under the age of 65 were uninsured for some or all of 2006-2007.
  • 29.6 percent of people under the age of 65 were uninsured for some or all of 1999-2000.

More States Are Affected: 1999-2000 to 2006-2007

  • The number of states where more than one-third of the people under the age of 65 were uninsured for all or part of a two-year period more than doubled—rising from nine states in 1999-2000 to 20 states plus the District of Columbia in 2006-2007.
  • The states where more than one-third of the people under the age of 65 were uninsured for one month or more in 2006-2007 are: Texas (45.7 percent of the total non-elderly population was uninsured), New Mexico (44.3 percent), Arizona (41.8 percent), California (40.5 percent), Florida (40.1 percent), Mississippi (38.7 percent), Nevada (38.4 percent), Louisiana (38.1 percent), Oklahoma (37.7 percent), Georgia (37.6 percent), South Carolina (37.4 percent), Arkansas (37.2 percent), Utah (35.2 percent), Alabama (35.1 percent), the District of Columbia (35.1 percent), West Virginia (35.1 percent), Alaska (34.8 percent), North Carolina (34.6 percent), Oregon (34.6 percent), Colorado (34.2 percent), and Montana (33.9 percent),
  • The 10 states with the largest number of uninsured people for some or all of 2006-2007 were California (12,987,000), Texas (9,320,000), Florida (6,039,000), New York (5,491,000), Illinois (3,601,000), Georgia (3,096,000), Ohio (2,936,000), Pennsylvania (2,918,000), North Carolina (2,609,000), and Michigan (2,524,000).

Number of Months Uninsured

  • Of the 89.6 million uninsured individuals, more than half (50.2 percent) were uninsured for nine months or more. Nearly two-thirds (63.9 percent) were uninsured for six months or more.
  • Among all people under the age of 65 who were uninsured in 2006-2007, nearly one in five (18.7 percent) were uninsured for the full 24 months during 2006-2007; 19.4 percent were uninsured for 13 to 23 months; 12.1 percent were uninsured for 9 to 12 months; 13.7 percent were uninsured for 6 to 8 months; and 29.5 percent were uninsured for 3 to 5 months. Only 6.7 percent were uninsured for 2 months or less.

Work Status of the Uninsured

  • Four out of five individuals (79.3 percent) who went without health insurance during 2006-2007 were from working families: 70.6 percent were employed full-time, and 8.7 percent were employed part-time.
  • In addition, 4.2 percent were looking for work.
  • Of the people who were uninsured during 2006-2007, only 16.5 percent were not in the labor force—because they were disabled, chronically ill, family caregivers, or were not looking for employment for other reasons.

Every Racial and Ethnic Group Is Affected

  • Although racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be uninsured, white, non-Hispanic people accounted for nearly half (48.5 percent) of the uninsured in 2006-2007.
  • Every racial and ethnic group experienced significant growth in the proportion of the non-elderly population that was uninsured between 1999-2000 and 2006-2007.
    • From 1999-2000 to 2006-2007, the proportion of the white, non-Hispanic population under the age of 65 that experienced a period without health insurance grew from 22.9 percent to 26.0 percent.
    • For the black, non-Hispanic population, the proportion increased from 39.8 percent to 44.5 percent.
    • For Hispanics, the proportion increased from 51.5 percent to 60.7 percent.
    • For other minorities, the proportion increased from 37.5 percent to 38.2 percent.

Nearly Every Age Group Is Affected

  • Of the total 89.6 million uninsured people in 2006-2007, 64.2 million were uninsured adults (18 to 64 years old).
  • More than one-third of the uninsured (34.9 percent) were ages 25 to 44—the age group that makes up the largest percentage of the uninsured.
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