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Many young adults have no health insurance and no regular doctor

Research Activities, August 2009, No. 348

Approximately 5 million adults aged 19 to 23 in the United States had no health insurance in 2006 for the entire year and 30 percent of them said they didn't think it was worth the cost, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The analysis found that 46 percent (2.2 million) of uninsured young adults worked full time and 26 percent (1.3 million) worked part time. The report by AHRQ also shows that in 2006:

  • Young adults who were uninsured for the entire year were only about half as likely as those who had insurance part of the year to have a usual source of care, such as a family doctor (36 percent vs. 70 percent).
  • More than two-thirds of young adults without insurance for the entire year did not see a doctor.
  • Young men were more likely than young women to be uninsured all year (30 percent vs. 18 percent).

The data are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Characteristics of Uninsured Young Adults: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population 19-23 Years of Age, 2006, MEPS Statistical Brief #246 at http://meps.ahrq.gov/.

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Current as of August 2009
Internet Citation: Many young adults have no health insurance and no regular doctor: Research Activities, August 2009, No. 348. August 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/research-activities/aug09/0809RA29.html