A person is considered uninsured in America if, for various reasons, they go three months or more without coverage. Below are some common characteristics to make it easier to determine whether or not an individual is uninsured. Remember, covering the 46 million uninsured in the U.S. healthcare system was the main focus of the Affordable Care Act.
•Employment is an important variable, particularly when looking at employment by industry, firm size and income of the worker. Seasonal and lower wage companies are less likely to offer insurance. Employees of small and blue collar workforces are more likely to be uninsured because they likely cannot afford the cost of coverage. Smaller companies are also less likely to offer insurance. Coincidentally, these are the same industries facing challenges under this law.
•Age is another reason someone could be uninsured. Young Adults are more likely to be uninsured than older adults. If they are no longer covered by a family policy they are likely to pass on coverage and entry-level workers do not have strong ties to the workforce or access to certain fringe benefits. Under the ACA, some can stay on their parent’s plan until the age of 26 and many are expected to do so.
Other individuals may feel that they are in good health and choose to remain uninsured, spending money on other items. There is a possibility that a lot of younger people could opt out of buying insurance and pay the penalty because the cost of premiums is skyrocketing for younger individuals.
•Citizenship. Many people who reside in the United States are not eligible for certain benefits. One group is those individuals who are either non-citizens, naturalized or here on a work status. When the law passed, 22% or 9.3 million of America’s uninsured were non-citizens. Of the non-citizens that are currently uninsured, 10% are undocumented and therefore not eligible for public coverage. They will remain uninsured after 2014 and still eligible to receive care in costly emergency rooms.
Uninsured by the Numbers
The ACA estimated 47 million uninsured. Here is how the numbers breakdown.
- 9.7 million qualify for current government programs, but are not enrolled
- 9 million earn more than $75,000 per year and choose not to enroll
- 6 million are eligible for employer-sponsored insurance, but are not enrolled
- 5.2 million are undocumented, non-citizens
- 5 million are non-citizens who may not be eligible for government programs
- 12 million of the uninsured in America truly do not have affordable insurance options