Nine million Americans were without health insurance for the entire 32-month period from January 1990 through September 1992, and 60 million Americans were without coverage for at least a month during that time, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released last week.
Earlier this year, the Census Bureau released a separate report that found more than 39 million Americans, or 15% of the public, had no health insurance in 1993, up more than 1.5 million from 1992.
The new report studied the trends in health insurance coverage and found that 68% of the people who moved in and out of poverty went without health insurance coverage at some time during the study period.
Conversely, only 13% of those above the poverty line for the entire period went without insurance.
Because of Medicaid, only 31% of those who spent the entire period below the poverty level spent any time without insurance.
"People at the margins are more likely to have lost their private health insurance and may not be qualified or ready to apply for government assistance," said Bob Bennefield, the study's author.
The report also found significant variations in coverage levels among racial groups, age groups and locations.
For example, 21% of whites experienced some period of being uninsured, compared with 36% of blacks and 48% of Hispanics.
Some 32% of people living in the South went without insurance for one month, compared with only 18% of Americans living in the Northeast.