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How a Gap in Health Insurance Coverage Affects Care

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, June 6, 2012

While only 26%, or 48.2 million adults aged 19 to 64 years experienced a gap in their health insurance coverage in 2011, these folks often remain uninsured for a year or more. In fact, 57% were uninsured for more than two years.

The really bad news is that experiencing a gap in health insurance coverage can set a person on a slippery slope. Physicians may disappear and preventive care is often skipped. And this all happens fairly quickly. After an insurance gap of a year or more:

  • Fewer than half of the respondents still had a regular doctor.
  • Only 33% had their cholesterol checked in the past five years.
  • About 51% had their blood pressure checked.
  • Only 28% of women reported having a regularly scheduled mammogram.
  • Fewer than 10% had a colon cancer screening.

Change in employment status was the leading cause of insurance gaps with 67% reporting that when they switched jobs, lost their job, or worked part-time, they lost their coverage.

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1 comments on "How a Gap in Health Insurance Coverage Affects Care"


richard.vangorder (6/6/2012 at 1:36 PM)
I am in this boat - I was unemployed and uninsured in 2011 for 7 months but I paid for my physician, lab and medication out of pocket. Now I am employed and insured but the insurance won't pay any claims due to pre-existing conditions. So I am about to be hauled off to debtors prison because the insurance I and my employer are paying for is not paying for my care. So much for the USA being the greatest country in the world.