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Uninsured Spells of the Poor: Prevalence and Duration

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  • T. D. McBride
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    Abstract

    The number of persons in the United States without health insurance, particularly those lacking private health insurance, is increasing. Although there is a large body of research documenting the insurance status of people in poverty at a point in time, the duration of spells without health insurance, and the duration of poverty spells, much less attention has been paid to the dynamics of spells without health insurance among those in poverty. The results presented here, based on data from the 1990 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), conclude that the typical uninsured spell is longer for the uninsured poor (roughly 8.3 months) than for the uninsured nonpoor (roughly 6 months) and that the duration of spells has increased over time. The findings suggest that over 40 percent of the uninsured at a point in time are chronically uninsured and poor or near poor. The cost of obtaining health care is particularly prohibitive for this group, with serious implications for the reform of health care.

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    File URL: http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/dps/pdfs/dp113197.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1131-97.

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    Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1131-97

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    1. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
    2. Mary Jo Bane & David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Slipping into and out of Poverty: The Dynamics of Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-23.
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    Cited by:
    1. Avi Dor & Joseph Sudano & David W. Baker, 2003. "The Effects of Private Insurance on Measures of Health: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 9774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Cutler, David M. & Mas, Nuria, 2003. "Comparing non-fatal health across countries: Is the US medical system better?," IESE Research Papers D/525, IESE Business School.

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