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Many Americans Facing Breaks in Health Insurance Coverage

One of four U.S. adults had a gap in health insurance coverage in 2011, most because of a job loss or change, according to a new brief based on the 2011 Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey of U.S. Adults. The survey found that people struggled to regain coverage quickly: About seven of 10 of those with a gap in insurance had gone without coverage for a year or longer, and more than half were uninsured for two years or more.

Outside of employer-sponsored insurance, there are few affordable insurance options for people who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. The study showed nearly two-thirds of those who tried to buy individual health insurance policies in the past three years found it very difficult or impossible to find affordable coverage. (See the infographic below for more details.)

"The current system of health insurance in the United States has gaping holes, the effects of which have become increasingly pronounced during a weak economy," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "The Affordable Care Act is beginning to close those gaps, so that people who are already struggling can maintain health care coverage that will provide for their families’ health and help ensure their financial security."

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Publication Details



Many Americans Facing Breaks in Health Insurance Coverage, The Commonwealth Fund, April 2012.