Photo: Hispanics Most Likely to be Uninsured
According to a new Gallup report, Hispanic Americans continue to be the most likely to be uninsured, with more than 40% going without health coverage in 2011, the highest Gallup has found for any key group since it began tracking in 2008.
High-income Americans and seniors—two groups among the least likely to be uninsured—have not seen an increase in the percentage uninsured over time.
Overall, more American adults lacked health insurance coverage last year than in any year since Gallup and Healthways started tracking it in 2008. The uninsured rate has been increasing since 2008, climbing to 17.1% in 2011.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index asks 1,000 American adults each day about their healthcare coverage and reports monthly, quarterly, and annual averages. The monthly percentage of uninsured adults increased to 17.7% in December 2011, tying July for the highest on record. The uninsured rate was 17% or higher in most months in 2011.
Gallup first documented an increase in the monthly percentage of uninsured adults in November 2008, rising above 16% for the first time in February 2009 and above 17% for the first time December 2010.
The U.S. health insurance system is undergoing great upheaval, which combined with the troubled economy of the past several years is clearly affecting health insurance coverage in the country. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data reveal that more Americans lack healthcare today than did four years ago. Groups that were already among the least likely to have coverage—Hispanics, low-income Americans, and blacks—have become even more likely to be uninsured. Meanwhile, seniors, most of whom qualify for Medicare, and high-income Americans not only remain among the least likely to lack coverage, but also have not seen their access decline in recent years.