Study: Ranks of underinsured have swelled

Jun 10, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

By Darla Mercado

Some 25 million U.S. adults with health insurance in 2007 faced financial stress due to insufficient coverage, according to a study from The Commonwealth Fund.

The ranks of the underinsured have increased by 60% between 2003 ó when the New York-based health research foundation performed its first analysis ó and 2007.

The full results were published today in the Health Affairs journal.

Health care premiums have skyrocketed between 2000 and 2007, rising by 91% compared to only a 24% increase in wages.

Last year, 17.2 million individuals said that their out-of-pocket medical expenses were equal to at least 10% of their family annual income, compared to 8.9 million in 2003.

The study noted that adults with annual incomes below $20,000 were at the highest risk of being uninsured or underinsured,

But people in higher wealth brackets have also been affected: 22 million people with income between $40,000 and $99,999 said they had insufficient coverage, compared to 9 million in 2003.

Meanwhile, seven million people who make more than $100,000 said they were uninsured in 2007, up from one million in 2003.

Although individuals between ages 50 and 64 were most likely to be insured, fewer of them had sufficient coverage, as 65% were fully insured last year, down from 74% in 2003.

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