NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Study Blames Deaths on Lack of Insurance

May 22, 2002

Adult Americans are dying because they aren't covered by health insurance, lack preventive services or do not receive a timely diagnosis and appropriate care -- 18,314 adults each year, to be exact -- according to a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a nonprofit organization that advises Congress on health issues.

The report looked at the health care received by uninsured adults -- whether uninsured by choice (as is the case with many young and health adults) or due to lack of the availability of affordable insurance.

Thirty million working-age Americans, one in seven, lack employer-provided insurance and don't qualify for government medical care programs.

  • About 10 million children lack insurance; elderly Americans are covered by Medicare.
  • The estimated additional deaths among the uninsured include about 1,400 people with high blood pressure, 400 to 600 with breast cancer, and 1,500 diagnosed with HIV.
  • Uninsured trauma victims are less likely to be admitted to a hospital, receive the full range of needed services, and are 37 percent more likely to die of their injuries.

Uninsured people with colon or breast cancer face a 50 percent higher mortality risk, the report states.

Source: Steve Sternberg, "Study Blames 18,000 Deaths in USA on Lack of Insurance," USA Today, May 22, 2002; Institute of Medicine, "Care Without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late" (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2002).

For text

For text of IOM report


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