Twenty-six percent of all working-age U.S. adults shouldered a gap in health care coverage during 2011, most often because of unemployment or a change in jobs, a new Commonwealth Fund survey shows.
According to the survey, nearly 70 percent of those who reported having experienced an insurance gap had gone without coverage for at least a year or longer, while 57 percent had been uninsured for two years or more. Among those who tried to buy individual policies in the past three years, 62 percent found it “very difficult or impossible to find affordable coverage,” 31 percent were “turned down, charged a higher price, or had a condition excluded because of a pre-existing condition, and nearly half never bought a plan, mainly because they simply cannot afford it:
The Affordable Care Act is already helping to bridge gaps in insurance coverage by allowing young adults to join or stay on a parent’s health insurance plan up to age 26 and providing state-based high-risk pools for the sicket Americans. In 2014, insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition. The survey found that many are still uninformed about the benefits, however. Forty percent of respondents “age 19 to 29 didn’t know about the benefit that permits those under 26 to obtain coverage from their parents’ plan. When asked about the high-risk pools, 45 percent of people in fair or poor health and 65 percent of people who were uninsured didn’t know about that coverage option.”