U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

Function Navigation

Bookmark and Share

Health Insurance

People who are uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to seek health care, which may result in poor health outcomes and higher health care costs.1 In 2008, 39.0 million adults (17.2 percent) were uninsured. Adults aged 18–64 accounted for 38.3 million of those uninsured, representing 20.3 percent of that population (data not shown).2 The percentage of people who are uninsured varies considerably across a number of factors, including age, sex, marital status, race and ethnicity, and education.

Among adults in 2008, those aged 18–24 years were most likely to lack health insurance. Men aged 18–64 years were more likely than women of the same age to be uninsured. The highest rate of uninsurance occurred among 18- to 24-year-old men (32.3 percent), which was substantially higher than the percentage of women of the same age (24.8 percent). The lowest rate of uninsurance was among adults aged 65 and older, most of whom are eligible for Medicare coverage. The next lowest rate was found among women and men aged 45–64 (13.7 and 15.2 percent, respectively); the sex disparity in this age group was less pronounced than in the younger age groups.

Among women aged 18–64 years in 2008, 70.5 percent had private insurance, 15.8 percent had public insurance, and 18.0 percent were uninsured. This distribution varied by marital status: women who were married and whose spouse was present were most likely to have private insurance coverage (80.4 percent), while women who were widowed or separated from their spouses were least likely (52.5 and 49.7 percent, respectively). Women who were widowed were also more likely than women of other marital statuses to have public insurance (31.7 percent). Women separated from their spouses were most likely to lack insurance (28.7 percent), followed by women who had never married (25.1 percent). [Respondents could report more than one type of coverage.]

1 Hadley J. Insurance Coverage, Medical Care Use, and Short-term Health Changes Following an Unintentional Injury or the Onset of a Chronic Condition. JAMA. 2007; 297(10): 1073-1084.
2 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.

Back to Top