Health Insurance:

A Profile of the Uninsured in Ohio and the Nation

HRD-88-83: Published: Aug 30, 1988. Publicly Released: Oct 5, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO studied: (1) the growth in the number of individuals without health insurance between 1982 and 1985; (2) the characteristics of uninsured persons in the United States and Ohio; (3) health insurance costs and affordability in Ohio; and (4) federal, state, and local health care programs in Ohio that assist the uninsured.

GAO found that: (1) the number of Americans without health insurance increased by 13 percent between 1982 and 1985; (2) reasons for the increase included a decrease in employer- or union-sponsored insurance, the growth of industries which typically do not offer coverage, and an increase in insurance costs; (3) the likelihood of being uninsured was significantly greater among individuals who were not full-time employees, were unmarried or separated, or had incomes below or close to the poverty level; (4) a disproportionate percentage of individuals who were nonwhite or young or who worked in the agriculture, construction, or retail trade industries lacked insurance; and (5) cost and health status were serious obstacles in obtaining health insurance. GAO also found that: (1) Ohio statistics regarding the uninsured and insurance availability and affordability paralleled national averages; (2) federal, state, and local health care programs in Ohio handled over 2 million visits from low-income patients, at a cost of over $2 billion in 1985; and (3) uninsured persons in Ohio did not have uniform access to publicly supported programs.

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