No Health Insurance, Higher Death Risk
Study: 45,000 U.S. Deaths Per Year May Be Linked to Lack of Health Insurance
Sept. 17, 2009 -- In a new study, researchers estimate that 45,000 deaths
per year in the U.S. are associated with not having health insurance.
That estimate appears in the advance online edition of the American
Journal of Public Health.
Data came from about 9,000 people aged 17 to 64 who took part in a
government health survey between 1988 and 1994. They were followed through
During those years, about 3% of the participants died. People without any
health insurance were 40% more likely than people with health insurance to die
during the years studied, regardless of factors such as age, gender, race,
income, education, health status, BMI (body mass index), exercise, smoking, and
The researchers then applied that finding to U.S. census data. "We
calculated approximately 44,789 deaths among working-age Americans in 2005
associated with the lack of insurance," write the researchers, who included
Andrew Wilper, MD, MPH.
Wilper worked on the study while at the Cambridge Health Alliance, which is
associated with the Harvard Medical School. Wilper now works at the University
Wilper's team can't rule out other factors that could have affected the
results. But they note that people without health insurance often don't get
preventive care or have a steady source for medical care, which could be