Last year, 46 million U.S. adults lacked health insurance, CDC finds
WEDNESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- For some Americans, health care reform may be arriving none too soon: The number of U.S. adults not covered by health insurance jumped by 2.9 million people from 2008 to 2009.
In 2009 -- the year in which the latest statistics are available -- 46.3 million American adults had no health insurance, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This means one in five working-age adults is uninsured, and the situation is still worse in some states: nearly one in four Texans, for example, lack any form of health coverage.
As a result, millions of Americans face an uphill battle getting the health care they need, according to the CDC.
In the United States, health insurance means access to health care, said Robin A. Cohen, a statistician with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. "Although one can still obtain health care without coverage, a lack of coverage can be a barrier to obtaining needed health care," she said.
Studies have shown that people without health insurance are less likely to get preventive care and often delay care until a condition becomes serious, Cohen added.
The percentage of uninsured adults of working age climbed from 19.7 percent to 21.1 percent in 2009, and a whopping 58.5 percent of American adults went without insurance for at least part of the year.
The jump in uninsured Americans appears to be caused by the current recession and a drop in the number of employers offering health coverage. "There was a corresponding decrease in private coverage among adults, from 68.1 percent in 2008 to 65.8 percent in 2009," Cohen said. "You can connect the dots."
On a positive note, more children are covered than before, Cohen said, although millions are still going without insurance. "In 2009, 6.1 million
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