9 million lost healthcare in last 2 years

March 18, 2011 at 11:58 PM

NEW YORK, March 18 (UPI) -- An estimated 9 million working-age adults became uninsured in the last two years due to unemployment, a U.S. health insurance survey indicates.

The Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey indicates 43 million adults age 65 and under who reported they or their spouse lost a job in the past two years had difficulty finding affordable healthcare.

Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, says only 25 percent who lost employer health insurance were able to find another source of health insurance coverage. Fourteen percent continued their job-based coverage through COBRA.

Purchasing individual health insurance was not a viable option for most who lost their jobs -- 71 percent of adults who tried to buy individual coverage in the past three years either found it difficult or impossible to find a plan that fit their needs; found it difficult or impossible to find a plan they could afford; or were turned down or charged a higher price for coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

"The silver lining is that the Affordable Care Act has already begun to bring relief to families and once the new law is fully implemented, we can be confident that no future recession will have the power to strip so many Americans of their health security," Davis says in a statement.

An estimated 52 million U.S. adults were uninsured at some point during 2010, up from 38 million in 2001.

The 25-minute telephone survey of 4,005 U.S. adults, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from July 14 to Nov. 30, has a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points.

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