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89 million people medically uninsured during 2004 to 2007
Date:8/9/2012

Eighty-nine million Americans were without health insurance for at least one month during the period from 2004 to 2007, and 23 million lost coverage more than once during that time, according to researchers at Penn State and Harvard University.

"These findings call attention to the continuing instability and insecurity of health insurance in our country," said Pamela Farley Short, professor of health policy and administration, Penn State. "With more than a third of all Americans under age 65 being uninsured at some point in a four-year period, it's easy to see that the problem of being uninsured is a big one that affects lots of people."

To do their analysis, the researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation, which collects information from the same individuals every four months over a four-year period. The team examined changes in insurance coverage among people ages 4 to 64 from 2004 to 2007, which is the most recent period for which four-year data are available.

The researchers found that, of the 89 million people who were uninsured during the period from 2004 to 2007, 12 million were continually uninsured; 11 million gained coverage at some point; 11.5 lost coverage; 14 million experienced a single gap in coverage; and 6 million had a temporary spell of coverage, but were otherwise uninsured. In addition, 23 million people lost health insurance more than once during the four-year period.

The results of the analysis appeared online in a recent issue of Medical Care Research and Review.

"There is clear evidence that people who are uninsured use fewer services than people who have insurance; they postpone prevention and ignore serious problems because they don't feel they can afford the care," Short said. "As a result, some even die for lack of insurance."

But not only do people with gaps in their coverage suffer; those who remain insured and pay premiums suffer as well.
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Contact: Sara LaJeunesse
SDL13@psu.edu
814-863-4325
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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