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One-fifth of All Hispanics Under Age 65 Are Chronically Uninsured

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: December 6, 2005

Nearly 21 percent of Hispanics under age 65, roughly 78 million individuals, reported being continuously uninsured for at least two years when surveyed in 2002 and 2003 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).

By comparison, 10 percent of blacks and 7.2 percent, respectively, of non-Hispanic whites and Asian-Pacific Islanders reported being continuously uninsured during the same period. AHRQ's survey also found that:

  • While Hispanics represented only 10.7 percent of Americans who had health insurance throughout the period, they comprised 32.4 percent of the long-term uninsured population under age 65.
  • Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.5 percent of the long-term uninsured population but they also comprised 71.2 percent of the continuously insured population.
  • Overall, nearly 1 of every 10 Americans under age 65, 24.2 million people, was continuously uninsured for the two-year period.
  • 17.3 percent of young Americans age 18 to 25 were continuously uninsured, compared with:
    • 15.9 percent of those ages 25 to 29.
    • Just over 12 percent of the 30 to 34 age bracket.
    • 10.4 percent of persons ages 35 to 54.
    • 7.5 percent of the 55 to 64 age group.
  • By comparison, only 4.3 percent of children and adolescents from infancy to age 18 were continuously uninsured.

MEPS collects information each year from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households about health care use, expenses, access, health status and quality. MEPS is a unique government survey because of the degree of detail in its data, as well as its ability to link data on health services spending and health insurance to demographic, employment, economic, health status, and other characteristics of individuals and families.

For more information, go to Statistical Brief No. 104: The Long-term Uninsured in America, 2002 to 2003: Estimates for the U.S. Population under Age 65, at [PDF Help].

If you'd like more information or an interview with a researcher, please contact Bob Isquith at or (301) 427-1539.


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