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Lack of insurance among full-time, low-income workers jumped in the past decade

Research Activities, October 2009

The proportion of low-income workers who were uninsured increased from 26 percent in 1996 to 34.5 percent by 2006, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The average household income for a family in 2006 was $40,888. AHRQ's analysis also found that among full-time, low-income workers between 1996 and 2006:

  • The proportion of workers aged 18 to 34 without health insurance grew from 30 percent to 38 percent. For workers aged 35 to 49, the comparable shift in uninsured rates went from 22 percent to 32 percent.
  • The proportion of uninsured workers in firms with less than 25 employees jumped from 39 percent to 50 percent. Uninsured workers in firms employing 25 to 99 employees and in those with 100 or more employees saw their ranks rise from 22 percent to 31 percent and from 11 percent to 14 percent, respectively.
  • The proportion of non-Hispanic black workers and white workers without health insurance increased from 18 percent to 27 percent and 22 percent to 28 percent, respectively.
  • Among industry categories, workers in professional services had the largest increase in the proportion without health insurance, expanding from 11.5 percent to 26.4 percent.

These findings are based on analysis of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, how often they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Full-Time Poor and Low-Income Workers: Demographic Characteristics and Trends in Health Insurance Coverage, 1996-97 to 2005-06.

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Page last reviewed October 2009
Internet Citation: Lack of insurance among full-time, low-income workers jumped in the past decade: Research Activities, October 2009. October 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.