IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Uninsured Spells of the Poor: Prevalence and Duration


  • T. D. McBride


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.

Suggested Citation

  • T. D. McBride, "undated". "Uninsured Spells of the Poor: Prevalence and Duration," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1131-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1131-97

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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 223-255, March-Apr.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1131-97. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.