Residents of some U.S. communities are far more likely to buy their own health insurance than residents of other communities are.[@@]

A total of 6.5% of all U.S. residents under age 65 have private, individual health insurance, according to researchers at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington.

But the EBRI researchers, who based their report on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, found that the percentage of market residents who own individual health coverage varies dramatically from market to market.

Individual health penetration rates range from a high of 17.5% in the area that includes Oshkosh, Wis., and 2 nearby communities down to a low of 0.5% in the Huntsville, Ala., area.

At the high end of the penetration spectrum, penetration rates range from 10% to 12% in the Denver, San Francisco, and Sacramento, Calif., areas.

Markets other than Huntsville with individual health penetration rates of 4% or lower include the Cleveland, Houston, and Greenville, S.C., areas.