insurance coverage disparities in health care graph

Low-income people spend longer amounts of time being uninsured, and skip needed care because they’re uninsured, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund.

This in itself may not be surprising, but the depths of the problem are: 35 percent of low-income families and 18 percent of moderate-income families have been uninsured for two years or more.

Of uninsured people, 10 percent of those over 50 have been screened for colon cancer, as is recommended; of the insured population, 50 percent has had that screening.

Other points, from a blog post on Kaiser Health News by Jordan Rau:

“A third of low-income Americans (under 133 percent of poverty, or $29,726 for a family of four) have lacked insurance for at least two years–10 times the rate of higher earners (over 400 percent of poverty, or $89,400 for a family of four).

“Half of those with incomes under 2 ½ times poverty ($55,875 for a family of four) lacked  a regular source of care.

“Half of people under 133 percent of poverty ($29,726 for a family of four) have used the emergency room to get a prescription written.”

The entire study is worth reading, as a picture of what the lack of insurance does to medical decisions.


Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...