Study: Nearly Half of Adults Still Without Adequate Health Coverage

Friday, 26 Apr 2013 05:11 PM

By Lisa Barron

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Nearly half of adults ages 19 to 64, or an estimated 85 million people, either did not have health insurance last year or had coverage that did not protect them from high out-of-pocket medical costs, a new survey shows.

The survey conducted for the New-York based Commonwealth Fund from April to August 2012, found that thirty percent of U.S. residents, or 55 million people, were uninsured for at least part of the year, while another 16 percent, or 30 million people, were underinsured, the Huffington Post reported Friday.

People earning up to four times the federal poverty level, which is $11,490 for an individual this year, were most likely not to have coverage, while lower-income people reported the most cost-related problems getting the coverage they needed.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act is aimed at helping solve the problem of the uninsured. It offers financial assistance for health insurance to low- and middle-income people earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, about $45,960 for a single person this year.

Sara Collins, vice president for affordable health insurance at the Commonwealth Fund, said in a statement that it “will be critical to continue to monitor the effects of the law as the major provisions go into effect in 2014 and beyond to ensure it achieves its goal of near-universal, comprehensive health insurance.”

Collins noted, however, that millions of low-income individuals and families could remain uninsured if states opt out of the Medicaid expansion part of Obamacare.

Health insurance claims costs could also rise significantly in several states if insurers seek to increase rates, as Maryland’s largest insurer did this week, announcing a proposed 25 percent hike for individual plans in 2014.

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