Study: Most uninsured Americans concentrated in handful of counties, cities

Chris Bing Contributor
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A new study conducted by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota shows that a substantial number of uninsured citizens reside in only a few urban areas.

Currently, approximately 14.9 percent of Americans lack health insurance,  yet 20 percent of that total live in 13 only counties, and half of those under 65 without insurance live in just 116 of the nation’s 3,143 counties, according to the center’s estimates.

The mandated 2014 Obamacare uninsured penalty will come into effect in two months, encouraging advocacy groups to flood into many of these counties to increase sign-up numbers.

The largest pool of potential sign-ups is in Los Angeles County, where 2 million people without insurance — five percent of the national total — live. In Dallas County, Texas, 31 percent of the population is uninsured.

Many advocacy groups hope that the public’s perception of an inevitable penalty will provide a quick surge in sign-ups for the administration’s widely criticized healthcare plan.

The penalty in 2014 is calculated one of two ways, and the uninsured will be forced to pay whichever is higher of two amounts: Either one percent of their yearly household income or $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family under this rubric is $285, according to reports from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

According to a mission overview provided by the  U.S. National Library of Medicine and the  National Institutes of Health, Obamacare stands to “cut the number of uninsured Americans by more than half. The law will result in health insurance coverage for about 94 percent of the American population, reducing the uninsured by 31 million people, and increasing Medicaid enrollment by 15 million beneficiaries. Approximately 24 million people are expected to remain without coverage.”

The Obama administration fell short of its goal of signing up seven million before March by four million Americans, although the White House later insisted it never promised seven million as a target number.

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Tags : obamacare
Chris Bing