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Third of Young U.S. Adults Lack Health Insurance
Date:2/24/2010

Males more likely than females to go without coverage, statistics show

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Almost one-third of young adults in their 20s lacked health insurance in the United States in 2008, new statistics show.

The problem was more pronounced among men 20 to 29 years of age, 35 percent of whom went without coverage for medical care. As a result, these uninsured 20-somethings are less likely to visit a doctor on a regular basis, less likely to fill prescriptions and more likely to arrive at the emergency room.

"The highest uninsured rate is among people in their 20s and even though this is a relatively healthy group, they do need some access to health care," said Robin A. Cohen, lead author of a data brief just released by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"If you don't have insurance you're less likely to have a usual source of medical care. You're also less likely to have visited a doctor and you're more likely to have an unmet medical need," Cohen added.

"This is a problem that's existed for some time, and it's worsened over the last few years," said Sara Collins, vice president of the Affordable Health Insurance Program at The Commonwealth Fund in New York City. "We have an employer-based health insurance system so to the extent that you are without strong connections to that system when you have a transitional period, you're going to be at risk of losing your health insurance coverage."

And people in their 20s generally are in transition, moving from home where they could be on their parents' plan, to college where they could be on a college plan or to the workforce, where they may be on no plan.

And children who had been covered under Medicaid aren't likely to be eligible for that program when they turn 19, Collins added.

Based on data collected from more than 13,000 adults aged 20 to
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