Number of people under 65 without health insurance skyrockets
For many Americans, health insurance is simply out-of-reach, whether because health problems make them ineligible for coverage or the costs are simply too high for them to afford. Now a new report released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute has found that 17.9 percent of all Americans, or 46.4 million people, under 65 do not have health insurance.
In 2006-2007, more than 89 million Americans, or 34.7 percent, under 65 years of age did not have health insurance during part of the year, according to another report by Families USA, a non-profit organization.
Families USA’s report also found that the percentage of families that did not have health insurance coverage but had at least one family member working full or part time, topped 79 percent. Of that 79 percent, 70.6 percent had full-time jobs while the remaining 8.7 percent held part-time jobs.
Surprisingly, the report by Families USA also found that many of those Americans without health insurance have jobs and are in the middle class. Texas stands out as the state with the highest percentage – 45.7 percent – of residents under 65 without health insurance.
The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s findings were just as bleak. It found that self-employed individuals and families are among the highest percentage of those Americans without health insurance. In fact, a quarter of the uninsured in America are self-employed while the self-employed and employees at businesses with less than 100 employees comprise approximately 63 percent of those with full- or part-time employment who do not have health insurance.
Specifically, those Americans with part-time employment make up 29.3 percent of those without health insurance while full-time employees without health insurance total 16 percent.
According to the report, an estimated 22 percent of American men do not have health insurance compared to 18 percent of American women. Health insurance coverage also varies according to demographic groups. Caucasian Americans comprised 12.8 percent of all of the country’s uninsured while Hispanics made up 35.7 percent of those who are uninsured with African-Americans making up 21.8 percent of uninsured Americans.
Annual income appears to play a part in whether or not an individual or family has health insurance, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. An estimated 33 percent of uninsured Americans were members of families that made less than $20,000 a year. Alternately, only seven percent of uninsured Americans are from families with a yearly income of $75,000 or more.
Unfortunately, the problem of uninsured Americans is poised to get worse, if the report is any indication of the future. The Employee Benefit Research Institute found that the number of employers offering their employees health insurance has steadily declined over the past seven years.
In addition to the decline of employers offering health insurance, overall, public programs at the state and federal levels aren’t being expanded, which is leaving more Americans uninsured.
While the problems with the lack of health insurance coverage in the United States haven’t yet been labeled a crisis, the number of Americans without health insurance is becoming an increasingly visible problem, as both the Families USA and Employee Benefit Research Institute’s reports found.