As Ranks of Uninsured Grow, Many Forgoing Needed Care

27.6 percent of those uninsured at some point in prior year report doing without care

TUESDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- As of early 2010, about one in four Americans aged 18 to 64 did not have health insurance for at least part of the prior year, forcing many people to do without needed health care, according to a report in the Nov. 9 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

CDC researchers analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey for 2006 to 2009 and the first quarter of 2010 to calculate the number of persons without health insurance or with gaps in insurance coverage and assess the impact on access to needed care.

During the study period, the number of persons uninsured at least part of the prior year increased by about 1.1 million per year to a total of 59.1 million in the first quarter of 2010. In the 18 to 64 age group, the uninsured included 32.1 percent of families with incomes two to three times the federal poverty level ($43,000 to $65,000 for a family of four). Among those uninsured during the preceding year, 27.6 percent reported doing without needed health care, compared to 4 percent of those continuously insured. For persons with diabetes mellitus who were uninsured during the previous year, 47.5 percent did without needed health care compared to 7.7 percent of continuously-insured diabetes patients.

"An increasing number of persons in the United States, including those at middle income levels, have had periods with no health insurance coverage in recent years, which is associated with increased levels of forgone health care. Persons aged 18 to 64 years with chronic conditions and without consistent health insurance coverage are much more likely to forgo needed medical care than persons with the same conditions and continuous coverage," the authors write.

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