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Changes in the Incidence and Duration of Periods Without Insurance

Listed author(s):
  • Cutler, David M.
  • Gelber, Alexander M.

BACKGROUND: Policymakers have recently proposed ways of providing health care coverage for an increased number of uninsured persons. However, there are few data that show how the incidence and duration of periods in which persons do not have insurance have changed over time. METHODS: We used two data sets from the Survey of Income and Program Participation of the U.S. Census Bureau: one that covered the period from 1983 through 1986 (25,946 persons), and another that covered the period from 2001 through 2004 (40,282 persons). For each set of years, we estimated the probability that a person would be uninsured for some period of time and the probability that a person would subsequently obtain private or public insurance. We also estimated the probabilities that persons in various demographic groups would become uninsured over the course of a year and would remain uninsured for various amounts of time. RESULTS: The percentage of the population that lost insurance in a 12-month period increased from 19.8% in 1983-1986 to 21.8% in 2001-2004 (P=0.04). The percentage that was uninsured for a period of time increased markedly among persons with the lowest educational level and predominantly represented loss of private coverage. The percentage of new uninsured periods that ended within 24 months increased from 73.8% to 79.7% between the two study periods (P

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 5344531.

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Date of creation: 2009
Publication status: Published in New England Journal of Medicine
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:5344531
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  1. Farber, Henry S. & Levy, Helen, 2000. "Recent trends in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage: are bad jobs getting worse?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 93-119, January.
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