The cost of health insurance will depend on the area in which a person lives, their age, and any pre-existing conditions
What is health insurance? | How common is health insurance? | Health insurance stats by ethnicity | Health insurance stats by state | Health insurance stats by age group | Health insurance stats by type | Common complications | Costs | Treatment | FAQs | Research
Health insurance is a hot topic these days. With rising medical costs, an increase in the prices of prescription drugs, and some individuals pushing for government-controlled health insurance options for all Americans, healthcare coverage seems to be at the forefront of many people’s minds.
What’s the truth about insurance, though? We’ve found all the latest statistics and information about insurance in the United States and in each state.
What is health insurance?
“Health insurance is a type of insurance that provides financial protection against medical expenses incurred by an individual or a group of individuals,” explained Brad Cummins, founder, and CEO of Insurance Geek. “Health insurance policies typically cover a range of healthcare services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, and other medical treatments.”
Health insurance may be provided by an employer, found by an individual through the healthcare marketplace for their family and dependents, or provided by the government, depending on age and income level.
How common is health insurance?
- Private health insurance was more popular than public coverage in 2021, with 66% of people having private insurance and 35.7% having public insurance, such as Medicare for older adults or Medicaid for low-income individuals. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2022)
- According to the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement done by the U.S. Census Bureau, 91.7% of individuals had health insurance for all or some of 2021. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2022)
- The uninsured rate decreased from 2020 to 2021, with only 27.2 million people (8.3%) not having health insurance at any point during 2021. In 2020, 28.3 million people (8.6%) were uninsured throughout the year. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2022)
- The most popular to least popular type of health insurance coverage in 2021 were employer-based insurance (54.3%), Medicaid (18.9%), Medicare (18.4%), direct-purchase insurance (10.2%), TRICARE (2.5%), and VA or CHAMPVA insurance (1%). (U.S. Census Bureau, 2022)
- Medicaid coverage increased by almost 1% in 2021 from 2020. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2022)
Health insurance statistics by ethnicity
- From 2019 to 2021, Hispanic people had the largest improvement in their uninsured rate of one percentage point, with 20% being uninsured in 2019 and 19% being uninsured in 2021. (KFF, 2022)
- Uninsured rates also dropped in Asian, White, and Black populations. However, there were no significant changes in uninsured rates from 2019 to 2022 in the American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiin, and Other Pacific Islander populations. (KFF, 2022)
- Those most likely to not have health insurance in 2021 were Hispanic adults (30.1%), Black adults (14.1%), white adults (8.7%), and Asian adults (6.3%).(National Center for Health Statistics, 2021)
Health insurance statistics by state
- According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), Massachusetts has the most insured people, with only 2.5% of the state being uninsured, followed by Vermont, with 3.3% of residents being uninsured, and Hawaii, with 3.7% of residents being uninsured. (KFF, 2021)
- Texas has the most uninsured residents, with 18% of the state uninsured. Oklahoma follows them with a rate of 13.8%, and then Georgia with 12.7%. (KFF, 2021)
- With an average of $12,294 in healthcare costs per person yearly, Delaware was the most expensive state for healthcare. (Forbes, 2022)
- Residents of Hawaii with employer-provided insurance for only themselves have the lowest premiums at an average of $846.67 yearly. They’re also the only state with this type of coverage under an average cost of $1,000 per year. (Forbes, 2022)
Health insurance statistics by age group
- According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey, of those who were uninsured, 29.6 million were under 65 years old. Children under 18 years of age accounted for 4.1% of uninsured citizens, and those between the ages of 18 and 64 years made up 13.5% of the uninsured population. (CDC, 2023)
- Adults who were 26 years old had the highest rates of being uninsured in 2019, followed by those who were 27 years old. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020)
- Those under 18 years of age, which would be dependents, had the lowest uninsured rate in 2021, with 4.1% of kids, or 2.9 million children, being uninsured. (National Health Statistics Reports, 2022)
- Adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years in 2021 had the highest rates of private health insurance coverage, with 69.2% using a private insurance plan. (National Health Statistics Reports, 2022)
Health insurance statistics by type
- In 2021, the majority of people in the U.S. used private health insurance providers (62.4%), followed by public health insurance (38.5%). Those who were uninsured made up 8.6% of the population. (National Health Statistics Reports, 2022)
- In September of 2022, 65 million adults had Medicare insurance. Of those individuals, almost 35 million used Original Medicare, and around 30 million opted for Medicare Advantage or other healthcare plans. (Center for Medicare Advocacy, 2022)
- In November 2022, 91.7 million people were enrolled in Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Plans (CHIP). Those in Medicaid made 84.8 million, and CHIP recipients made up 6.9 million. (Medicaid.gov, 2022)
- Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of Medicaid recipients, with 46.9% of the population being on the government insurance program. They’re followed by New Mexico, with 34.4% of residents being on Medicaid, and Louisiana, with 32% of residents opting in for the income-driven plan. (KFF, 2021)
- At 18.9%, West Virginia had the highest percentage of Medicare recipients, followed by Maine at 18.5% and Florida at 17.9%. (KFF, 2021)
Why are people uninsured?
The Centers for Disease Control issued a National Health Statistics Report in February of 2022 that said 31.6 million Americans, or 9.7% of the population, were uninsured in 2020. There are a variety of factors that could cause someone to choose not to enroll in a health insurance plan, but typically these reasons are financial. They may include:
- Some healthy adults find the affordability of paying out-of-pocket for the occasional health care expenses better than health insurance provider plans.
- Some who can’t afford insurance may find their income is not close enough to the poverty level or their family income is too high to qualify for Medicaid eligibility, including any Medicaid expansion options.
- They could be switching jobs, and there is a lapse in insurance coverage. A number of people lost health insurance during the pandemic due to limited job opportunities.
- Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for governmental programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, and they may not be able to afford other insurance plans.
While many people may not have any serious issues as a result of being uninsured, in the case of a healthcare emergency, such as an appendix bursting, these medical bills will quickly overwhelm the bank accounts of most Americans. While these costs can still be high with insurance, you will not meet an out-of-pocket maximum without insurance coverage and be on the hook for paying 100% of your medical fees.
The cost of health insurance
- The cost of health insurance will depend on the area in which a person lives, their age, and any pre-existing conditions. According to Forbes, the average monthly cost for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace plan is $928 for a Bronze plan, $1,217 for a Silver plan, and $1,336 for a Gold plan. (Forbes, 2023)
- The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average family premium has risen by 43% over the past ten years. (KFF, 2022)
- In 2022, the average yearly premium for family coverage was $22,463. Individual plans with single coverage had an annual premium of $7,911 in the same year. (KFF, 2022)
- Those on Medicare Part A typically have a premium-free plan, but, depending on how long they worked and what they’ve paid in taxes over the years, they could pay $278 or $506 per month. (U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2023)
- Medicaid spending varies by state, but the yearly fiscal Medicaid spending totaled $748 billion in 2021. (KFF, 2021)
History of health insurance
“Accident insurance has roots dating back to the mid-19th century when railroad and steamboat workers were compensated for their injuries,” explained Christian Worstell, a licensed health insurance agent and senior staff writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. “By the end of the century, disability insurance had evolved into what we now recognize as health insurance.”
Worstell went on to explain this transition. In 1929, Dallas school teachers were the first to receive an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. In the 1960s, Medicare and Medicaid were introduced for those too old to work or those who were unable to afford insurance without employer-sponsored insurance.
Health insurance questions and answers
What percentage of the U.S. population has health insurance?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 91.4% of Americans had health insurance for all or part of the year in 2020.
Why do so many Americans not have health insurance?
There are a variety of reasons why Americans do not have health insurance. While some people just may not be interested in enrolling in it because they’re overall healthy, the majority of people do not have health insurance because of financial reasons.
How much of the U.S. economy is health insurance?
The Commonwealth Fund found that 17.8% of the gross domestic product (GDP) spent by the U.S. was on healthcare costs. This is around twice the average cost spent in 38 other high-income countries.
What percentage of millennials don’t have health insurance?
Statista found that in 2018, 66% of millennials were enrolled in private insurance plans, while 16% of millennials were uninsured.
How many U.S. citizens can not afford health care?
One survey created by Callup and West Health found that 112 million individuals in the U.S. struggle to afford healthcare costs. They also found 90% of individuals did not believe that the health benefits provided by a health insurance plan were worth the cost. (The Hill, 2022)
What percentage of people without health insurance in the United States make $75,000 per year or more?
Pfizer found that 7% of people with a household income of over $75,000 did not have insurance. This is much lower than lower-income households, as 28% of people with a household income of under $25,000 were uninsured.