About 75 Million U.S. Residents Lacked Insurance Coverage for At Least Part of 2001, 2002
An estimated 75 million U.S. residents, about one-third of those younger than age 65, lacked health insurance for at least part of the past two years, according to a study released today, the New York Times reports. The study -- prepared by Families USA for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of "Cover the Uninsured Week," which begins March 10 -- used data collected by the Census Bureau to determine the number of individuals who lacked health insurance for part of 2001 or 2002; the Census Bureau last year estimated that about 41 million U.S. residents lacked coverage for the entire year of 2001. The study released today found that about 74.7 million U.S. residents lacked health insurance for part of the past two years. About 25% lacked health insurance for the entire 24 months, and about 25% lacked coverage for three to five months; about 10% lacked coverage for two months or less, the study found. In addition, the study found that more than 50% of Hispanics younger than age 65 and 39% of blacks in the same age group lacked health insurance for part of the past two years (Toner, New York Times, 3/5). The study also found that about 80% of the 74.7 million U.S. residents who lacked health insurance for part of the past two years had jobs or had at least one parent with a job.
Among states, California had the most uninsured residents, with 11.1 million, the study found (Kemper, Los Angeles Times, 3/5). The economic downturn, increased health care costs and reductions in benefits in public health insurance programs such as Medicaid have contributed to the rise in the number of uninsured, AP/Long Island Newsday reports (Meckler, AP/Long Island Newsday, 3/5). Last year, 26 states reduced Medicaid benefits, and 42 states said that they plan make reductions this year. "The uninsured problem is no longer an issue of altruism for other people. Now it is an issue of self interest for us all," Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said (Los Angeles Times, 3/5). The study is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this report.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.