More than one in six American adults lacks health insurance, according to recent findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
Percentage of Uninsured Adults Up from ’08
As of October 2010, 16.6% of US adults lacks health insurance. The percentage of uninsured Americans shot up to 15.8% in November 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, and entered into the 16% range in early 2009, where it has stayed ever since. When Gallup began tracking levels of health insurance coverage among US adults in January 2008, it found 14.8% lacked health insurance.
Employer-based Coverage Declines
For the total year 2010 through October, an average of 16.3% of US adults has lacked health insurance. More Americans on average have government healthcare and fewer have employer-based coverage so far in 2010 compared with 2009 and 2008.
More specifically, 49.2% of US adults had an employer-based health plan in 2008. This figure fell to 46.8% in 2009 and 46% in 2010. Meanwhile, the 23.4% of US adults with government health insurance rose to 24.6% in 2009 and 25.2% in 2010. Uninsured levels climbed from 14.8% to 16.2% to 16.3% in the same time period.
Healthcare Provisions Have Little Affect
Several major provisions of the new healthcare law, which could significantly affect coverage in America, were initiated a little more than a month ago. These include letting children up to age 26 remain on their parents’ plan, banning insurers from canceling a person’s coverage if they get sick, and ending lifetime dollar limits on coverage.
Gallup trends reveal, however, that these new policies have yet to influence the health coverage situation for the average American, although the changes may take some time to permeate the population. Additionally, the more significant measures designed to reduce the ranks of the uninsured, such as the requirement that most Americans carry health insurance and the creation of health insurance exchanges, are not set to go into effect until 2014.
Recession Boosts Govt. Healthcare Recipients
More than one-quarter of US adults reported having government health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, or military/veterans’ benefits) in August 2010, up 13% from January 2008, according to other findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
As of August 2010, 25.4% of US adults were insured through a government program such as Medicare, Medicaid or military/veterans’ benefits. This figure is about 13% higher than the 22.5% of US adults receiving government health insurance in January 2008, one month after what is generally considered to be the December 2007 starting point of the current recession.