Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Number of Uninsured Appears Poised for Dramatic Surge

The researchers acknowledge that their model does not take into account the effect of job losses during the current recession, which could add millions to the ranks of the uninsured.

Rising health care costs and slow growth in personal income related to the current recession will add at least another 6.9 million nonelderly Americans to the rolls of the uninsured by 2010, according to a study published May 28 on the Web site of the journal Health Affairs.

In the study report, researchers Todd Gilmer, Ph.D., and Richard Kronick, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego, predicted that 19.2 percent of all nonelderly Americans will be uninsured by 2010, an increase of 2 percentage points from 2007.

The researchers used a complex method that involves several data sources to calculate an "affordability index," defined as the ratio of per-capita health spending for insured adults to the median income among workers. Those data sources included the National Health Accounts developed by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the 1977 National Medical Care Expenditure Survey, the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey, and the 1996 and 1999 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. Their analysis also takes into account employment characteristics such as firm size, industry, and self-employment and part-time status, as well as demographic and socioeconomic characteristics such as age, sex, marital status, race and ethnicity, education, and home ownership. After using their index to derive predictions for uninsurance rates among workers, Gilmer and Kronick used the historical relationship between coverage rates for workers and for all nonelderly adults to generate predicted uninsurance rates for all nonelderly adults.


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