The Uninsured and Their Health Care Needs: How Have They Changed Since the Recession?

This analysis uses the Center for Studying Health System Change’s (HSC) 2010 Health Tracking Household Survey, the 2007 HSC Health Tracking Household Survey and the 2003 HSC Community Tracking Household Survey to describe the uninsured population and how it has changed over the past decade, especially between 2007 and 2010 when the recession caused many with previously stable coverage to become uninsured. It finds that although the uninsured population remains disproportionately made up of younger people, the poor and racial/ethnic minorities, uninsurance rose the fastest among the near-elderly, whites and those with higher incomes. Many of these demographic shifts may be attributed to the recent recession, which triggered a rise in unemployment and the loss of job-based health insurance for many laid off workers, while other trends in the characteristics of the uninsured have been longstanding and show little change.

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