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Kaiser: Uninsured overwhelmingly come from working families

According to a recent report released by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, about 76 percent of the 49.1 million uninsured people in the United States come from working families.

The report (.pdf) explains that most uninsured workers tend to be self-employed or work for smaller companies. Smaller companies are less likely to offer benefits such as health insurance. Furthermore, employed low-wage workers face the obstacle of not being able to afford insurance premiums, especially for family coverage.

The Kaiser Commission also found that

the weak economy contributed to declines in employer‐sponsored coverage, which insured 56 percent of the non-elderly population in 2010.

In 2010 many people shifted from out of full‐time work and into part‐time positions, which are less likely to offer health insurance. About six in ten of the uninsured have at least one full‐time worker in their family and 16 percent have only part‐time workers

Workers usually enroll in employer-sponsored health insurance if they are eligible. However, it has become increasingly difficult for many workers to afford coverage. In 2010, the average annual total cost of employer‐sponsored family coverage was $13,770, and the share of the premium paid by workers was 30 percent. Between 2005 and 2010, workers’ share of premiums increased by 47 percent, while overall premiums rose 27 percent and wages increased 18 percent.

Lastly, uninsured people were already having a hard time finding good jobs. According to the report, “uninsured adults are twice as likely as privately insured adults to have no education beyond high school (60 percent vs. 30 percent).”

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Florida, in particular, has one of the highest rates of citizens without health insurance. Florida is currently among the top three states with the highest rates of uninsured residents.

The Kaiser report also notes that “millions of people are struggling right now to access affordable healthcare for themselves and their families.” However, the Affordable Care Act “holds promise for many people” who currently are struggling, the report points out.

Florida is one of a few states not implementing the Affordable Care Act, and is leading a lawsuit aimed at having the law repealed.

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