EBRI Survey Explores Characteristics of the Uninsured

October 4, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Those working in the services sector, low-income families, self-employed workers, employees in small private-sector firms and Hispanics are more likely to be without health insurance than other groups, according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

The survey by the Washington D.C.-based group looked at the sources and characteristics of the uninsured population under age 65 in the U.S. to gauge the most important factors that point to whether an individual is likely to have health insurance.

According to the EBRI survey, full-time, full-year, public-sector employees; workers employed in manufacturing, managerial and professional occupations; and individuals living in high-income families were more likely to have employment-based health benefits than others. Those not falling into any of those categories were more likely to be uninsured.

Workers employed in agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and construction were more likely to be uninsured (36.3%), compared to 15.1% in the manufacturing sector, 18% percent in wholesale, and 22.5% in the service sector.

One-third of the uninsured were in families with annual incomes of less than $20,000; nearly 36% of individuals in families with incomes of less than $10,000 were uninsured, and 7.1% of those in families with annual incomes of $75,000 or more were uninsured.

Nearly 63% of all uninsured workers were either self-employed or working in private-sector firms with fewer than 100 employees in 2006, and nearly 27% of self-employed workers were uninsured, compared with 18.8% of all workers.

More than 35% of workers in private-sector firms with fewer than 10 employees were uninsured, compared with 13% of workers in private-sector firms with 1,000 or more employees.

More than 22% of men were uninsured in 2006 compared with 18.1% of women.

Part-time or part-year workers accounted for 39.6% of uninsured workers, nearly 29% of full-time, part-year workers were uninsured, and 16% of full-time, full-year workers were uninsured.

Hispanic individuals were more likely to be uninsured than other groups (35.7%), compared to 21.8% of blacks and 12.8% of the white population.

The full results of the survey were published in the October 2007 EBRI Issue Brief and are based in Census Bureau data.