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Health Insurance


People who are uninsured face substantial financial barriers to health care, which can result in delayed diagnoses and poor health outcomes, including premature death.1 In 2010, 42.6 million adults (18.4 percent) were uninsured, up from 37.5 million adults (16.7 percent) in 2007 (2007 data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). The recent rise in the uninsured population has been attributed to job loss and the economic recession.1 The percentage of people who are uninsured varies considerably across a number of factors, including age, sex, marital status, race and ethnicity, income, and education.

Among adults in 2010, those aged 18–24 years were most likely to lack health insurance (27.2 percent). However, those aged 18–24 years were the only group to experience a significant decline in uninsurance between 2009 and 2010,2 which is likely attributable to the Affordable Care Act provision allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance plan until age 26.1 Men aged 18–64 years were more likely than women of the same age to be uninsured. The lowest rate of uninsurance was among adults aged 65 and older, most of whom are eligible for Medicare coverage.

In 2010, 67.8 percent of women aged 18–64 years had private health insurance, 17.1 percent had public insurance, and 19.6 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 (77.8 percent) and least likely to be uninsured (14.2 percent). Conversely, women who were married, but whose spouse was absent or reported being separated were least likely to have private health insurance (48.7 and 47.2 percent, respectively) and most likely to be uninsured (32.2 and 30.3 percent, respectively). Women who were separated from their spouses or widowed were most likely to have public health insurance coverage (26.9 and 25.9 percent, respectively). [Respondents could report more than one type of coverage.]

1 Kaiser Family Foundation. The Uninsured: A Primer. Washington, DC: Kaiser Family Foundation; October 10, 2011. Accessed 06/15/12.

2 DeNavas-Walt, Carmen, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica C. Smith, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-239, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2011.



Adults Aged 18 and Older Without Health Insurance, by Age and Sex, 2010
Age Group Percent of Adults
Total Female Male
Source: National Committee for Quality Assurance. The State of Health Care Quality 2011. Washington, DC: NCQA, 2011. Accessed on 10/12/12.
18-24 Years 18.4 16.3 20.6
25-44 Years 27.2 25.4 29.0
45-64 Years 16.3 15.6 17.1
65 Years and Older 2.0 1.8 2.3
Health Insurance Coverage of Women Aged 18-64, by Marital Status and Type of Coverage,* 2010
Marital Status Percent of Women
Private Public** Uninsured
*Percentages may add to more than 100 because it was possible to report more than one type of coverage.
**Includes Medicaid, Medicare, military health care, and state health plans. Source: National Committee for Quality Assurance. The State of Health Care Quality 2011. Washington, DC: NCQA, 2011. Accessed on 10/12/12.
Total 67.8 17.1 19.6
Married, Spouse Present 77.8 13.4 14.2
Married, Spouse absent 48.7 23.3 32.2
Widowed 53.0 25.9 25.3
Divorced 59 20 24.2
Separated 47.2 26.9 30.3
Never Married 57.7 20.3 25.3