NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 16, 2006

Almost half of all people ages 19 to 24 in Miami-Dade County report having no health insurance, according to the most recent Florida Health Insurance Study.  They are too old to be covered by Mom and Dad, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.  And those who are employed often end up in service jobs where health insurance either isn't offered or is too expensive, says the Miami Herald.

In general, Florida has more uninsured people than the national average, says University of Florida Prof. R. Paul Duncan, part of the Florida Health Insurance Study research team:

  • This is because of the state's large immigrant population and the area's lower average income and wages.
  • Add in the high number of young adults working in restaurants, shops, clubs and hotels, and this creates a perfect storm for high numbers.
  • The percentage of Miami-Dade young adults without health insurance dwarfs numbers in similarly sized counties around the nation and rivals those in the nation's largest metropolitan areas.
  • In Florida, Miami-Dade had one of the highest percentages of uninsured young adults, according to the Florida Health Insurance Study.
  • In Broward County, about 27 percent of young adults lack health insurance -- roughly 20 percentage points lower than in Miami-Dade.

For a healthy young adult, forgoing heath benefits might be a necessary sacrifice for the right job.  But in most cases it's not that young adults don't want health coverage, Duncan said.  Young adults and older adults accept employer offered health insurance at similar rates, research shows.

Source: Breanne Gilpatrick, "Young adults ranked as least insured; When it comes to getting health insurance, young adults are left out compared with other age groups," Miami Herald, August 13, 2006.


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