At least 16 million Americans were "underinsured" in 2003 and nearly as likely as the nation's 45 million uninsured to go without medical care or incur medical debt, according to a study for the Commonweath Fund.
The problem will worsen with the restructuring of health insurance to shift more costs to patients, the researchers warned. Low- to moderate-income people and the chronically ill were most likely to have inadequate coverage, according to the study, published online by Health Affairs.
Some 54% of underinsured adults, vs. 59% of uninsured adults, went without at least one necessary medical service, such as a doctor's visit, because of cost. Among adults with health problems, 64% of underinsured and 76% of uninsured went without needed care. Read the study.