According to Gallup, as of July 2014, about 13% of the US population did not have health insurance. Many people who are uninsured are either low-income individuals or their dependents, people who are unemployed, people who are self-employed, or people who work for small companies that do not offer health insurance.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 55% of uninsured people had no usual source of healthcare, 25% went without needed care because they were uninsured, and 22% went without a needed prescription drug because they could not afford it without insurance.
The uninsured population is typically at a higher risk for health problems because they go long periods of time without receiving preventative or screening services. In addition to this, the uninsured are far less likely than those with private insurance to seek follow-up care even after a serious diagnosis.
There are resources for the uninsured including Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) for those who qualify. Typically people who qualify for these programs are people with low-income, people with disabilities, seniors, and children.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for the elderly, disabled children, and others who are in need of medical care and qualify for the program. Medicare, and it’s state-run and jointly funded Medicaid supplement program are ways that some people who are uninsured have or can become insured.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama in 2010, also has the goal to expand health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. The ACA allows states to expand Medicaid eligibility to cover more individuals. The law has also established the Health Insurance Marketplace where individuals can purchase health insurance plans.
Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works