CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly characterized the approach taken by the Commonwealth Fund.
More than a quarter of working-age U.S. adults went without health insurance for some or all of 2011, mostly because they lost or changed jobs, the Commonwealth Fund reported on Thursday. And most of those who tried to buy insurance on their own said it was difficult, said the non-partisan group, that advocates better health insurance coverage and care and does research to back up its goals.
But the 2010 health reform law is starting to help, most notably by allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26, the survey found.
The non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation says 18.5 percent of non-elderly Americans do not have any health insurance. The health reform law aims to close this gap.
“For people who lose employer-sponsored coverage, the individual market is often the only alternative, but it is a confusing and largely unaffordable option,” Commonwealth Fund vice president Sara Collins, who led the report, said in a statement. “As a result, people are going a year, two years, or more without health care coverage, and as a result going without needed care.”
The annual survey found that 69 percent of people who went without health insurance had a gap of a year or longer, and 57 percent went without health insurance for two years or more.
More than 60 percent of those who tried to buy individual health insurance policies in the past three years said they found it very difficult or impossible to find affordable coverage and 31 percent said they were down, charged more or had a pre-existing condition excluded from coverage.