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6/18: One-Fifth of Americans Currently Lack Health Insurance


6/18: One-Fifth of Americans Currently Lack Health Insurance

Although 79% of Americans report that they have health insurance, a notable proportion — 21% — have at least one member in their household currently without a health plan.



The fact that money matters is an understatement.  While 97% of Americans making $100,000 a year annually and 87% of those bringing in between $50,000 and $99,999 a year say they have a health plan, just 67% of residents with an annual salary of less than $50,000 are covered.  And, while our country has made great strides in breaking the color barrier, that does not translate into adequate health coverage for minorities.  84% of white residents say they have health insurance while 69% of African Americans and 63% of Latinos report the same.

Younger Americans are far less likely to have health insurance compared with their elders.  Only 53% of those 18 to 29 say they are fully covered.  However, take a look at the proportion of insured as you move up the age spectrum.  81% of those 30 to 44 years old and the same proportion of those 45 to 59 have health insurance.  Nearly all those approaching or at Medicare eligibility — 92% of those 60 and older — have a health plan.

Need to Fill the Gap

Although 79% of Americans report they currently have health insurance that’s not the end of the story.  8% of Americans with health insurance report a time during the last 12 months when someone in their household did not have a health plan.  When that is added to the 21% of residents currently without  health coverage  the proportion of Americans with continuous coverage over the past year slides to 71%.

The bad news doesn’t stop there.  Another 10% of Americans have had to reduce their health plan in the past year in order to lower costs.  All told, only 61% of Americans had continuous coverage over the past year without reducing their benefits due to cost.

Once again, income makes a difference.  Just half of households earning less than $50,000 annually had continuous coverage without a reduction of benefits during the past year.  This compares with 78% of households making $100,000 or more.  African Americans, as a group, are hard hit.  Only 43% of African American households report that everyone in their household had continuous coverage during the past year without seeing a loss of benefits.

Most young adults under thirty do not have steady health care coverage.  Only 35% of adults between 18 and 29 years old had continuous health insurance coverage in the past year without having to further cut benefits to save money.

Table: Summary of Households with Health Insurance

Marist Poll Methodology

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6/18: Health Care in the United States: An In-Depth Look

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  1. Hand Winch 

    October 19, 2010 at 3:37 AM

    as mentioned, health insurance is very very important that is why it is always advisable to get yourself one;~.

  2. dwight

    March 16, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    “Only 35% of adults between 18 and 29 years old had continuous health insurance coverage ” That is a lot of people within that age group without health insurance.

  3. insurance tips

    February 2, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    Not only is health insurance being denied due to the lifestyles we have made for ourselves, but for pre-excising conditions as well which insurance companies deny straight away or offer a policy that is way too much to afford. Under the new health reform insurance companies will not be able to get away with that and there will be more competition between companies which help lower prices.
    Health insurance is expensive because the private insurance companies can charge what they want and get away with it but that will change if the new reform comes into place. I have read as well that insurance companies cannot cancel the policy if a person gets ill which is good thing as I have read many articles about this happening to people which is absolutely shocking.

  4. Cleaves M. Bennett MD

    July 4, 2009 at 8:10 PM

    The biggest driver of skyrocketing healthcare costs is the decision made by most Americans to eat, drink and be merry and then depend on one or several of the multiple pills available to (theoretically) counteract their unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices. That kabuki dance is not working. As a doctor I have admitted many 100s of patients whose medications failed and they developed, suffered and died from the very diseases the pills were supposed to prevent. Before dying their hospital and doctor bills ran into the 100s of thousands of dollars. America is the leader, but England, Canada, Japan and the EU are not far behind. The Baby Boomers becoming eligible for Medicare bankrupts the country by about 2017. A new plan to cover all the uninsured only brings that day closer. Our only hope is for Americans to swear off Big Macs and KFC, bike to work, and join a yoga class or its equivalent. If we took as poor care of our cars as we do our bodies, auto insurance would be unaffordable too.

  5. Leo J. Vidal, JD, MA, CPA

    June 23, 2009 at 11:26 PM

    This is a despicable situation, and most Americans would like to cover everyone with health insurance, especially children. But here’s the catch: very few will want to sacrifice anything to pay for it. That’s a political as well as a moral dilemma we face as individuals and as a nation.

  6. Pingback: 6/18: One-Fifth of Americans Currently Without Health Insurance … - Health Web Blog

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