Almost 18% of US residents under age 65 are uninsured

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, Friday, October 05, 2007

Rate of Uninsured U.S. Residents Younger Than Age 65 Has Increased to 17.9%, Report Finds

The number of uninsured U.S. residents younger than 65 rose to 46.4 million people, or 17.9% of that population, according to a report released Thursday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the Kansas City Star reports. The report also included the following findings:

* More than 25% of self-employed workers were uninsured, while almost 20% of all workers lacked insurance;

* More than 35% of workers at private-sector firms with less than 10 employees were uninsured, compared with 13% of workers at firms with 1,000 or more employees;

* Self-employed people and workers at private-sector firms with fewer than 100 employees made up 63% of the working uninsured;

* About 33% of the uninsured were in families with annual incomes less than $20,000, compared with about 7% of people in families with annual incomes of $75,000 or more; and

* Part-time workers made up 29.3% of the employed last year but 39.6% of the uninsured, while 16% of full-time workers lacked insurance.

The report also found that men were more likely to be uninsured than women, at more than 22% and about 18%, respectively. The demographic group most likely to be uninsured was Hispanics at 35.7%, followed by blacks at 21.8% and whites at 12.8%.

Employer-sponsored health care was the largest contributor to the insured population, covering 60% to 70% of people younger than 65. Medicaid and SCHIP made up about 13.4% of the insured, and private insurance covered about 6% to 7% of the insured.

According to the Star, employer-based coverage has declined every year since 2000. EBRI in its report said that 2005 might have marked the beginning of a trend, where the “erosion in employment-based coverage is not being offset by expansions in public programs” (Stafford, Kansas City Star, 10/4). The report is available online.

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