U.S. recession: 9 million lost healthcare

Dec. 22, 2011 at 2:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Some 9.3 million U.S. adults lost health insurance coverage due to a lost job during the recession of 2007 to 2009, researchers estimate.

Study authors John Cawley of Cornell University, Kosali Simon of Indiana University and Asako Moriya, a recent Ph.D. in economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University said roughly nine times as many Americans lost health insurance coverage in the latest recession as in the previous recession of 2001.

The researchers also estimated that 4.2 million children age 18 and under gained health insurance coverage during the recession under government health insurance programs.

The findings, published online by the National Bureau of Economic Research, include:

-- Men were much more likely than women to lose insurance coverage especially for men white, older and well educated. The study estimated 7.1 million men and 2.2 million women lost health insurance.

-- Even for men who didn't lose their jobs, increases in the unemployment rate were associated with a decreased probability of health insurance coverage because employers dropped coverage, cut workers' hours so they no longer qualified for health insurance, or increased employee premium contributions leading to workers declining the offer of coverage.

-- For children under 18, a 1 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with a 1.37 percentage point increase in the likelihood of being insured.

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