Advocacy group says lack of health insurance may be killing people

By Maryalene LaPonsie on July 2nd, 2012

Failure to have medical insurance is not only costly and inconvenient, it may also be deadly. That's the message in a report from Families USA, a health care advocacy group.

According to the group, 26,100 people died prematurely in 2010 because they did not have health insurance coverage. Using methodology first developed by the Institute of Medicine, Families USA considered the deaths of individuals between the ages of 25 and 64.

The 2010 number represents a jump from 20,350 premature deaths in 2005. Overall, the group estimates 134,120 individuals died between 2005-2010 because they were not covered by health insurance plans.

The Families USA report found every state had deaths attributable to a lack of medical insurance. Vermont had the lowest number, with 28 premature deaths among its uninsured in 2010.

Some of the nation's most populous states are said to have experienced thousands of premature deaths. According to the report, these are the states that had the greatest number of deaths in 2010 because residents lacked health insurance coverage:

  1. California - 3,164
  2. Texas - 2,955
  3. Florida - 2,272
  4. New York - 1,247
  5. Georgia - 1,161

Mississippi tops second list

The financial website 24/7 Wall St. used the Families USA data to determine the states with the highest number of deaths due to lack of health insurance per 100,000 residents. It found that Mississippi ranked first, with 15.82 excess deaths per 100,000 residents. Mississippi also has the highest percentage of residents - 22.4 percent - living below the poverty level, and the lowest life expectancy in the nation.

The other states with the greatest number of excess deaths per 100,000 residents are largely in the South:

  1. Mississippi - 15.82 (per 100,000 residents)
  2. Louisiana - 14.94
  3. Arkansas - 13.49
  4. South Carolina - 13.48
  5. New Mexico - 12.15
Maryalene LaPonsie
Maryalene LaPonsie has been writing professionally for more than a decade on topics including education, insurance and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Western Michigan University.

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