August 20, 2018
We still have an uninsured problem in the U.S., but we have a far broader health care affordability problem that hits sick people especially hard.
Why it matters: It’s time to think more broadly about who’s having trouble paying for the health care they need. The combination of lack of insurance and affordability affects about a quarter of the non-elderly population at any one time, but almost half of people who are sick.
Now that the Affordable Care Act has expanded health coverage, the percentage of the non-elderly population that is uninsured is now just under 11%, the lowest level ever recorded. But as the chart shows:
- Another 15.5% who have insurance either skipped or delayed care because of the cost or reported that they or someone in their family faced problems paying their bills in 2017.
- That brings the total percentage of non-elderly people with insurance and affordability problems to 26.2%.
More striking: nearly half of all people in fair or poor health — 46.4% — are uninsured or have affordability problems despite having coverage.