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Lack of Health Insurance Leads to Earlier Death Posted: March 18th, 2010

By Sanford Ellowitz

Sanford Ellowitz is a New York State licensed insurance agent. He is also a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist. He has over 25 years experience in the insurance and financial services industries.

Over the next decade, 34,600 Californians between ages 25 and 64 may die prematurely due to lack of health insurance, according to a report by Families USA.

While California ranks first nationally in premature deaths of the uninsured, residents of other states who lack insurance are also greatly affected. According to the report, it is likely that 25,400 residents of Florida and 13,900 residents of New York may die prematurely because they do not have medical coverage. The report is based on the methodology developed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to estimate national and state-level deaths due to lack of health coverage.

Families USA also says that from 1995 to 2009, more than 290,000 American adults (25 to 64 years old) may have died prematurely because they were uninsured.

Further underlining the need for health insurance, the study estimates that from 2010 to 2019, more than 275,000 adults across the nation may die prematurely because they lack medical coverage.

Other Studies Confirm the Results

Research published in the American Journal of Public Health estimates that 45,000 deaths per year in the United States are associated with a lack of health insurance. Because the uninsured are often unable to obtain necessary medical care, they have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance.

Another study, by Dr. Fizan Abdullah, pediatric surgeon at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, Md., concluded that lack of health insurance may have contributed or led to nearly 17,000 hospital deaths among American children over two decades. In the study, researchers calculated that an uninsured person is 60 percent more likely to die when hospitalized than an insured child. Even when comparing rates of death by underlying disease, Dr. Abdullah and his colleagues found the uninsured children still have a bigger risk of dying than insured children.

How Being Uninsured Affects Your Health

  • Those without health insurance may suffer premature death for the following reasons:
  • They often go without health screenings and preventive care.
  • They are less likely to have a source of health care outside the emergency room.
  • They frequently delay or forgo needed medical care.

Now is the time to secure coverage if you don't have health insurance. Access to care through medical coverage could save your life.

Sanford Ellowitz