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Section 7: Implications of Health Market Trends for Consumers and the Safety Net

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Exhibit 7.1: Number of the Nonelderly Uninsured, 1994-2004

The number of the nonelderly (under age 65) uninsured in the United States increased in 2004 to 45.5 million, an increase of 800,000 over 2003. Health insurance affects people’s access to health care, their health status, their job decisions, and their financial security. Health insurance makes a difference in whether people get necessary medical care, where they get their care, and, ultimately, how healthy they are. About two-thirds of the nonelderly uninsured are low income (see Exhibit 7.4), so medical bills can cause financial burdens for individuals and families. Uncompensated care to uninsured and underinsured individuals and the safety net of public hospitals and community clinics do not fully substitute for health insurance.

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Notes: Changes in the Current Population Survey’s (CPS) sample and questionnaire have been made over the years, which hamper the ability to trend data across years. Health insurance estimates for 1999 and later years that use the revised questionnaire cannot be compared with CPS estimates from earlier years. *Revised method estimates for 1999 shown in this exhibit are comparable to later years, except they are based on a smaller sample.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Health Insurance Coverage in America, 2004 Data Update, November 2005, Figure 1, p.9, at http://www.kff.org/uninsured/7415.cfm prepared by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, and the Urban Institute using data from the Census Bureau’s March Supplements to the Current Population Survey.

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Trends and Indicators in the Changing Health Care Marketplace
Information provided by the Health Care Marketplace Project.
Publication Number: 7031
Information Updated: 03/15/06