Health Insurance Coverage:

A Profile of the Uninsured in Selected States

HRD-91-31FS: Published: Feb 8, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 8, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided a profile of individuals without health insurance, focusing on income, employment, age, marital status, and other characteristics of such individuals in various states and the United States as a whole in 1988.

GAO found that: (1) 15 percent of the U.S. population under 65 years of age was uninsured in 1988, with uninsured rates ranging from 8 percent in Michigan and Rhode Island to 26 percent in New Mexico and Texas; (2) most of the population with health insurance received it through employers or unions; (3) workers in the service industries and such other industries as agriculture, construction, and transportation generally had higher uninsured rates than did workers in the manufacturing industry; (4) nationally, 34 percent of persons in families with incomes below the poverty level lacked health insurance, while state uninsured rates ranged from 17 percent of below-poverty-level individuals in New York to 58 percent of such individuals in Texas; (5) although more than half of uninsured workers had incomes lower than $20,000, 46 percent of the uninsured had incomes over $20,000, and 15 percent had income over $40,000; (6) nationally, unemployed persons had a 50-percent uninsured rate, but many of the uninsured were employed, with over a third having full-time employment; and (7) the likelihood of being uninsured was greater among young adults, minorities, unmarried persons, and those with less than a high school education.

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