HIAA Study Predicts Increase in Uninsured by 2009
Depending on the growth of the nation's economy and rising health care costs, the number of uninsured Americans could reach between 48 million and 61 million by 2009, according to a new Health Insurance Association of America study. Conducted by William Custer and Pat Ketsche of Georgia State University's Center for Risk Management and Insurance Research, the study notes that the number of uninsured decreased by 1.7 million between 1998 and 1999, the first decline since 1987. In addition, over the last five years employer-sponsored insurance has "risen steadily." Still, assessing the "underlying factors affecting coverage levels shows that the number of Americans who lack health insurance coverage is likely to rise over the next eight years," the authors write. The study makes three predictions based on economic and health care cost variables:
- If the economy continues to grow at its current pace and health care cost inflation remains "moderate," there will be 48 million uninsured Americans in 2009;
- If the economy and health care costs grow "rapid[ly]," the number will be 55 million in 2009; and
- If an economic recession hits, the number will reach 61 million.