Number of Uninsured Up Another Million

By John Gever for MedPage Today

A record 49.9 million Americans were without health insurance during 2010, up almost 2% from the 49.0 million uninsured in 2009, the Census Bureau reported.

The percentage of the population without insurance rose 0.2 percentage points, from 16.1% to 16.3%, though this was not significant at the P<0.1 level, the agency said. Results from the agency's 2010 Current Population Survey also found increases in the number of Americans living below the poverty level (46.2 million versus 43.6 million in 2009) as well as declines in inflation-adjusted median household income. The proportion of the population with private health insurance overall also declined, as did the proportion with insurance provided by employers. In a statement, the Census Bureau indicated that these trends were outgrowths of the recent recession, even though the economy was officially in recovery during 2010. The agency noted that the first years after previous recessions were also typically marked by increases in poverty rates and declining income and health coverage. Regionally, the biggest increase in being uninsured occurred in the Northeast, jumping 0.6 percentage points from the previous year, to 12.4%. But the 2010 rate was still lower than for any other region. Southern states, on the other hand, had the highest overall uninsured rate, at 19.1%, but this was actually a slight drop from 2009 when the rate stood at 19.2%. Ironically, individuals with jobs were more likely to be uninsured than the population as a whole. The survey found that, among people 18 to 64 years old who worked at some point during 2010, 28.0 million (19.5%) lacked health insurance. Also, people with disabilities were hit hard in 2010. Whereas 16.0% lacked health coverage in 2009, last year the figure rose to 17.3%. Other results from the survey concerning health insurance included: * Percent covered by private health insurance: 64.0% in 2010, down from 64.5% in 2009 * Percent covered by employer-based plans: 55.3% in 2010, down from 56.1% in 2009 * Percent covered by Medicaid only: 11.2% in both years In the Current Population Survey, lack of health insurance is supposed to mean that respondents had no coverage at any time during the year. The Census Bureau said the survey includes a series of questions meant to confirm the complete lack of insurance, but it acknowledged that misunderstandings by respondents are common. Consequently, the survey's final tally "more closely approximates the number of people who were uninsured at a specific point in time during the year than the number of people uninsured for the entire year," according to a disclaimer in the report. John Gever is senior editor at MedPage Today.


  1. Peggy on September 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Please add me to the uninsured for 2011. I’ve been unemployed for 1 year and am now working in a part-time job where only management is offered health insurance. What a sad state affairs this is. Everytime I get in the car I think to myself what will happen to me if I’m in car accident and then sent to closest hospital, no insurance card will be found on my person and I will be shipped across the city to the hospital that “cares not” for those who are uninsured. Then they will proceed to put a lien on my home because I can’t afford to pay the high price of healthcare in a country pathetically wealthy and eventually be homeless. Do I really live in the United States???

    • Helen Allard on September 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      It is such a sad situation that we are where we are and have to ask ourselves, do I really live in the United States..?.and will they take away the only thing that makes me feel secure,(my home.) It seems more like a 3rd world country now. Don’t give up the fight my friends, that is why the protestor’s are in New York now, going up aganist Wall Street and the big banks in a supposeably peaceful protest. I mean don’t the police even realize that they could also be out there with us protesting the very same things that we are protesting, they can lose their own homes in an instant and be where my sisters and brothers are now, but instead they are loyal to the corperations that we are fighting. Please don’t give up the fight in Arms or spirit because we are all needed in one way or another….Much love and peace to both of you…..H

  2. Colette on September 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I have been unemployed for over a year and can not afford health insurance. I receive $216 a week from unemployment and after paying my share of rent and groceries, there isn’t any money left for an insurance policy. The cheapest one I could find was $500.00 a month. I got sick a month ago and had to go to the emergency room. The charity care program will cover most of the bill but, not the ER doctor so, I still have to pay $900. I was only there for 6 hours. The total bill was over $5,000. Now, I have a pre-existing condition, I wonder if I am insurable at all. Health insurance premiums in the US are too high for most average Americans to pay. Having health insurance would make me feel so much more secure but, it is just out of my reach now. And, I know I am not alone. So sad.

  3. Jane Maner on September 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES are headed by ruthless, amoral people.
    BUT ONE QUESTION. Why do DOCTORS and LABORATORIES accept the reduced amount that the insurance companies give them? Yet, they charge people without insurance the full amount. Where are their ethics?

    • Cheryl on September 28, 2011 at 8:48 am

      Jane Maner: — Insurance companies have contracts with the medical providers and the doctors, hospitals, labs, etc. HAVE to accept what insurance has contracted to ALLOW. Medical providers have been backed into the corner. Since most people USED to have insurance, doctors have been forced to accept what insurances pay. Funny thing about insurance … I discovered that when they pay prescription drugs, and they are paid in “tiers”, YOU, the customer, ends up paying 3/4 of the amount of the highest tier drugs. For example, a medication that you’re paying $60 co-pay on, the insurance company is paying $28 or $29 on. WE, the consumer, oftentimes gets the shaft where insurance is concerned, UNLESS you have a BIG-TICKET hospitalization or serious illness.

  4. Terri on September 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Add my relatively healthy 21-year old daughter in college to the list of uninsured. She has been denied health care insurance by four insurance companies in PA. In their denial letter they refer me to the Affordable Care Act insurance which costs approximately $100 more per month than a policy through their company and she has to be uninsured for 6-months to apply. We don’t have group coverage as we are small(micro) business owners. So, it’s a budget battle of higher education vs. health insurance.

  5. Roberta Sims on October 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I say lets cut the insurance benefits from our Senators who have the best health insurance policy & see how they like it without insurance. Why do they get to have the best salaries & the best health Insurance & the best retirement plans why they always are trying to cut medicare & social security from us the middle class???