80M People Deemed Uninsured, Underinsured in 2012, Study Finds
In 2012, nearly 80 million U.S. residents were uninsured or underinsured, and a significant portion of those residents live in states that have declined to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report, NBC News reports.
For the study, researchers defined underinsured individuals as those with health insurance who still had to spend at least 10% of their income on medical costs. Low-income individuals were also identified as underinsured if they had to spend at least 5% of their income on health costs.
In total, the analysis identified 32 million people as underinsured (Fox, NBC News, 3/25).
The researchers determined that roughly 15 million underinsured or uninsured individuals with incomes below the federal poverty level live in the 23 states that are not expanding their Medicaid programs.
According to the study, many of the states that are not expanding Medicaid have the highest uninsured and underinsured rates. For example, Texas has an uninsured or underinsured rate of 40%, followed by other large states like Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina.
Cathy Schoen, senior vice president at the Commonwealth Fund and a co-author of the report, said, "The vast majority of people struggling to afford health care are low- and middle- income, and exactly the people the [ACA] was designed to help."
She noted that although the "report demonstrates that the health reform law was accurately targeted toward the needs of the uninsured and underinsured," adding, "However, if all states don' t expand Medicaid, millions will still go without health insurance and health care" (Easley, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.