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Study: Uninsured Still a Large Woe

December 8, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Highlighting another group of Americans without health insurance, a survey released today indicates that three in four uninsured adults are members of working families.

``The problem of the uninsured hasn’t gone away,″ said Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, which cosponsored the survey with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The survey is reminiscent of several studies this year showing that uninsured children live largely in families where at least one parent works full time or part time.

``We all need reminding that most of the uninsured are working families,″ Davis said.

Overall, a poll found that 73 percent of Americans who were uninsured or had been without insurance at some point over the past two years were part of working families.

Specifically, the survey showed that 57 percent of uninsured adults are working full time or married to a full-time worker. An additional 16 percent are working part time or married to a part-time worker. Of the rest, 15 percent are unemployed and 12 percent are not in the labor force.

Furthermore, the survey indicated that insurance does matter. Nearly half of the uninsured reported trouble with access to health care or paying for it.

Of those uninsured, 41 percent did not get a prescription filled and 37 percent had trouble paying a bill. Nearly half said they had trouble seeing a doctor or paying a bill.

Seventeen percent of people said they had to change their way of life to pay health care bills.

The survey of 4,001 adults was conducted between November 1996 and March 1997. Most interviews were conducted by telephone but some were done in person to catch people without phones. No margin of error was available.

The Commonwealth Fund, based in New York City, and the Kaiser Foundation, based in Washington, are both research organizations focusing on health issues.

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