The Uninsurance Crisis

The problem of the uninsured is continuing to grow. The federal government estimates that over 45 million individuals lacked health insurance coverage of any kind during 2008. Millions of American workers have lost their jobs, so the numbers of those losing their health insurance and applying for Medicaid or going naked (without health insurance) are also rising rapidly.

The report 

The Clock Is Ticking: More Americans Losing Health Coverage by FamiliesUSA provides the first ever state-by-state data on the number of people who may lose health coverage between the beginning of 2008 and the end of 2010. Numbers are broken down per week, per month, and per year.

The early release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the 2008 National Health Interview Survey by the CDC gives the most recent data on health coverage available. Some highlights include:

  • In 2008, 43.8 million persons of all ages (14.7%) were uninsured at the time of the interview, 55.9 million (18.7%) had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to the interview, and 31.7 million (10.6%) had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of the interview.
    In 2008, the percentage of children under the age of 18 years who were uninsured at the time of the interview was 8.9%.
  • In 2008, 60.2% of unemployed adults aged 18-64 years and 22.2% of employed adults in this age group had been uninsured for at least part of the past year. Also, 33.3% of unemployed adults aged 18-64 years and 13.4% of employed adults in this age group had been uninsured for more than a year.
  • In 2008, 19.2% of persons under age 65 years with private health insurance were enrolled in a high deductible health plan (HDHP) including 5.2% who were enrolled in a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP). In addition, 18.7% were in a family with a flexible spending account (FSA) for medical expenses.
  • In 2008, the percentage of persons uninsured at the time of interview among the 20 largest states ranged from 3.0% in Massachusetts to 22.9% in Texas.

I have created a map on GeoCommons trying to show the distribution of the uninsured around the country. I leave it you to draw your own conclusions how to address this crisis.

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