Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fifty Nine Million

59.1 million people in the US were uninsured for at least part of the prior year.

7 times as many adults without health insurance last year forgo health care due to costs.

6 times as many hypertensive and diabetic adults without health insurance last year forgo medical care.

5 times as many asthmatic adults without health insurance last year forgo medical care.

9.7 million adults with incomes 2-3 times above poverty level were uninsured for at least part of the year.

CDC estimates are based on interviews conducted during the first quarter of 2010 as part of the CDC's National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and cover the year prior to the interview.   CDC concluded:

From CDC Vital Signs - November 2010
"...An increasing proportion of persons aged 18--64 years in the United States lack health insurance, even for brief periods, and that gaps in insurance coverage are associated with delaying or forgoing health care, irrespective of family income level. These findings are particularly important for persons with chronic diseases. Approximately 40% of persons in the United States have one or more chronic diseases, and continuity in the health care they receive is essential to prevent complications, avoidable long-term expenditures, and premature mortality..."

"The data in this report support previous findings that continuous insurance coverage is an important factor in reducing delayed or forgone health care, which other studies have associated with avoidable hospitalizations for persons with chronic conditions. In addition, the data demonstrate that cost can be a barrier to health care, even for those with insurance coverage..."

"Like insurance coverage, family income is an important influence on receipt of health care. The data show that among persons aged 18--64 years with continuous insurance coverage, those with lower family incomes are twice as likely to forgo needed care because of cost when compared to those with higher family incomes. This disparity in health-care utilization might result from multiple factors outside the scope of this analysis, including personal choice, underinsurance, more difficulty making copayments, and barriers to accessing care (e.g., transportation costs and physician acceptance of publicly insured patients). This report focuses on persons aged 18--64 years and particularly those with chronic conditions, because these populations are large and their ability to receive all needed care has decreased substantially in recent years. As a result of near-universal coverage of persons aged ≥65 years through Medicare and expansions in coverage for persons aged ≤17 years through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, coverage for these age groups has improved or remained relatively stable in recent years."

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