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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