KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Cost, Recession Mean More Young Florida Workers Uninsured

More young workers in Florida - who make up 25 percent of the uninsured in that state - are going without health insurance coverage because they cannot afford it, and experts say it could mean problems in the future, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

"Of the 2.4 million Floridians in that age group, an estimated 915,000 are uninsured, according to U.S. census data. And a national study released Thursday by the private research group Commonwealth Fund pegged the number of uninsured young adults in 2007 at 13.2 million - up from 11 million in 2000. That the youngest segment of the adult population is forgoing regular doctor visits and delaying urgent medical care for lack of insurance worries health experts, who say if the trend persists it could mean a sicker country in the future."

The young, who are paying cash for their treatments, often in clinics or in emergency rooms, are basically subsidizing older or chronic users of the system, The Orlando Sentinel reports. But reform in Congress could give hope, according to the Sentinal. "Under the reform bills in Congress, Medicaid would be expanded to include childless adults who have incomes less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level - or about $14,400 a year; children could remain dependents until age 26; premiums would be capped; and insurers wouldn't be able to exclude people or charge more if they have pre-existing conditions such as asthma or diabetes" (Maza, 8/7).

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