Study Finds Widespread Lack of Health Insurance Coverage

April 13, 2006 ( - A new government survey found widespread and long-running issues of being without health insurance coverage among certain Americans.

The study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that more than half of all young US adults ages 18 to 29 skip such health coverage and more than 15 million US citizens had no health policy for at least four years, according to a Reuters report.

Not surprisingly, the study found that the poorest Americans are the least likely to have coverage. When broken down by ethnic group, Hispanic Americans are most-heavily uninsured. According to the study, the healthiest people are the most likely to have insurance, but it did not say whether their health was a cause or an effect of having insurance.

The 2003 survey found that 24.2% of poor Americans under the age of 65, or 3.8 million people, said they went without health insurance for four years in a row. The federal poverty line at the time was an income of $18,400 for a family of four or $8,980 for an individual.

Additionally, 6.2% of the population under the age of 65, or 15.6 million people, were uninsured for the entire four-year period from 2000 through 2003. At 65 virtually everyone is eligible for Medicare, the federal-state health insurance plan for the elderly.

The survey found that more than half of Hispanics said they were uninsured for at least a month in 2002 and 2003, and 15.7% said they went without insurance for the whole four years of 2000 through 2003.

The findings are based on the agency’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which collects information each year from a sample of US households about health-care use, expenses, access, health status and quality.

The full report is here .