NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Going Without Health Insurance Voluntarily

October 13, 1999

Substantial numbers of Americans are going without health insurance even though they have been offered coverage by their employers. A survey of 33,000 households by the Center for Studying Health System Change has revealed that about one in five people who were offered health insurance have turned it down.

  • Two-thirds of those who refused coverage blamed the high cost of policies -- with the remainder saying they didn't want it or need it.
  • Of the estimated 35.4 million uninsured Americans, 7.3 million turned down an offer of coverage.
  • At firms which pay an average of less than $7 an hour, workers pay out nearly 11 percent of pretax income for coverage.
  • But at firms which pay an average of more than $15 an hour, workers pay an average of about 3.2 percent of pretax income for coverage.

The survey established that Hispanics and blacks were more likely to forgo insurance than whites.

Some 19 percent of workers earning below the poverty line refused insurance when it was offered.

Source: Julie Appleby, "One in Five Uninsured Turned Down Coverage," USA Today, October 13, 1999.

 

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