More and more people are living without insurance every year.
Data shows the rate of uninsured Americans has increased each year since 2016. The number jumped even higher once many people lost job-sponsored insurance during the pandemic.
According to PolicyAdvice, 27.5 million Americans were uninsured in 2018, compared to 31 million in 2020.
Here are some key facts about this group:
Who are they?
- Low-income working adults and their families are more likely to be uninsured.
- Non-elderly adults are more likely to be uninsured than children. That’s because there are more public insurance programs for children than for non-elderly adults. One such program is called the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- People of color are at greater risk of going without insurance than white people.
- People living in the South or West are more likely to be uninsured.
Why don’t they have insurance?
- The high cost of insurance tops the list of barriers.
- Some employers don’t offer insurance coverage to their employees.
- Many people find the insurance sign-up process too confusing to deal with.
- Lower-income workers in states that did not expand Medicaid are often impacted.
- Undocumented workers are also ineligible for many government health insurance programs.
- Not everyone qualifies for Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax credits that can be used to cover insurance costs.
How does being uninsured affect health care?
Lack of health insurance leads to worse health outcomes. That’s because uninsured people often go without needed medical care. More than 41.5% uninsured adults avoided their doctor this past year. This includes preventive care like annual exams and ongoing care for lifelong conditions like diabetes.
How does not having healthcare affect finances?
Most uninsured people earn low to moderate wages. They also often lack significant savings. When they do go see a doctor, they must pay the costs themselves. They usually have trouble paying these fees. That can add up, creating tons of medical debt.
If you don’t have insurance, check out our guide to common programs and plans.