Many Have Trouble Staying Insured, Study Finds

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<p>Much like being uninsured, having unstable health insurance coverage limits access to care. People who go through periods in which they have no coverage are less likely to have a regular doctor and more likely to delay seeking care when they're sick.<br><br>A new Commonwealth Fund-supported analysis of Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data for the years 1998-99 and 1999-2000 sheds light on the extent of the problem of unstable coverage in the U.S. According to <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=18723&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D300283%26%23doc300283">Entrances and Exits: Health Insurance Churning, 1998-2000,</a> 22 percent of the U.S. population experienced at least one spell without any health coverage over the two-year period, in addition to the 9 percent who were uninsured for the full two years. Young adults, Hispanics, people with low levels of education, those who transition into and out of poverty, and those with private, nongroup insurance were most likely to have unstable coverage.<Br><Br>The study, by Kathryn Klein, M.P.H., Sherry Glied, Ph.D., and Danielle Ferry, M.S., also found that demographic factors and type of insurance interact to determine stability of coverage. Young adults and Hispanics with Medicaid or private insurance, for example, were relatively likely to lose their coverage. These findings, the researchers say, highlight the need for policies aimed not only at getting people health insurance but also at helping people retain their existing coverage.</p>