A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

The Uninsured Move Up the Income Chain

The Uninsured Move Up the Income Chain

April 26, 2006

New study from the Commonwealth Fund shows that the proportion of folks earning between $20K and $40K without health insurance is rising fast. This is the new frontier of the uninsured -- folks in the "near poor" and lower middle income category. This is the group most at risk not to be covered in MA health reform. We'll be watching closely and keeping you informed.

Here's info on the new study, worth a look:

America's uninsured crisis disproportionately affects lower-income working families. But new survey data show that moderate-income Americans are increasingly going without health coverage as well. According to Gaps in Health Insurance: An All-American Problem, a report prepared for the Commonwealth Fund, two of five working-age Americans with annual incomes between $20,000 and $40,000 were uninsured for at least part of the past year. This represents a dramatic and rapid rise from 2001, when just over one-quarter of this group was uninsured. The study finds that 21% of adults surveyed, insured as well as uninsured, are struggling to pay off medical debt, while nearly 60% of chronically ill adults with a recent time uninsured skipped medications because they could not afford them. The survey also found that the uninsured are more likely to go without recommended cancer, cholesterol, and blood pressure screenings. A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis released today confirms similar trends in every state.