Study: Many Boomers Outside Groups Lack Nongroup Health Coverage
Sellers of private individual and family health insurance have failed to reach hundreds of thousands of high-income, uninsured baby boomers.
Insurers are selling individual coverage, family coverage and other forms of nongroup coverage to only 57% of the 3.7 million high-income boomers who lack access to government or employer-sponsored coverage, according to a new study by John Holahan, a researcher at the Urban Institute, Washington.
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Health policy experts often blame medical underwriting barriers for keeping some high-income consumers from buying health coverage. But Holahans statistics show that private insurers have sold nongroup coverage to about 71% of the 1.2 million high-income “near elderly” consumers who have to buy their own health coverage.
Holahans study draws on newly released 2002 Urban Institute survey results and projections for the entire U.S. population based on those survey results. Holahan gives far more information about the correlation between income, age and health coverage rates than the U.S. Census Bureau gives in the tables based on its health coverage survey results.
Holahans study does not provide a perfect contrast between baby boomers and members of the Silent Generation. He uses a “near elderly” category that includes adults who were between the ages of 55 and 64 in 2002.
He also uses 2 categories for adults who were between the ages of 35 and 54 in 2002.
Because the baby boomers were between the ages of 38 and 57 in 2002, Holahans 35-54 categories include about 6 million members of Generation X, and his near elderly category includes more than 7 million members of the Silent Generation.
Holahan also uses a fairly loose definition of “high income”: The high-income consumers in his study earn 400% of the federal poverty level. That translates into about $50,000 for a married couple whose children have moved out.