Health Insurance

People who are uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to seek health care, which can result in poor health outcomes and higher health care costs. In 2006, 37.8 million adults aged 18–64 years in the United States, representing 20.2 percent of that population, were uninsured (data not shown).1 The percentage of people who are uninsured varies considerably across a number of categories, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, and education.

In 2006, among adults aged 18 and older, younger persons were most likely to lack health insurance, and men were more likely than women to be uninsured in every age group. The largest percentage of uninsured persons occurred among 18- to 24-year-old males (32.4 percent), which was significantly higher than the percentage for women of the same age group (26.1 percent). The lowest rate of uninsurance was among adults aged 65 and older, most of whom are eligible for Medicare coverage. The next lowest percentage of uninsured occurred among women and men aged 45–64 (13.6 and 14.8 percent, respectively); the sex disparity in this age group was less pronounced than in the younger age groups.

Among women aged 18–64 in 2006, 71.5 percent had private insurance, 14.4 percent had public insurance, and 18.1 percent were uninsured. This distribution varied by race and ethnicity: non-Hispanic White females had the highest rate of private insurance coverage (78.9 percent), followed by Asian/Pacific Islander women (74.8 percent). Non-Hispanic Black females had the highest rate of public insurance (22.1 percent) followed closely by American Indian/Alaska Native women (21.2 percent). Hispanic females had the highest rate of uninsurance (38.7 percent), followed by American Indian/Alaska Native women (36.0 percent). [Respondents were able to report more than one type of coverage.]

1 This statistic does not include adults aged 65 and older because that is the age when people become eligible for Medicare coverage based on age.

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