48M people lack insurance, unaware of health law

Almost 25 percent of adults between 19 and 64 years old--or 48 million people--lacked health insurance last year, and almost 70 percent of those adults lacked health coverage for more than a year, according to a study published Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund.

The study suggests that this coverage gap is partly driven by a lack of knowledge of the health reform law's new provisions, granting additional coverage. For example, 40 percent of respondents age 19 to 29 didn't know they could receive coverage through their parents' insurance, and 65 percent of uninsured respondents didn't know about high-risk pools, reported Kaiser Health News.

Plus, the current individual market inhibits easy purchase of plans. Almost 66 percent of respondents said they couldn't find affordable policies, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reported. "The individual market has proven to be a weak stop-gap option for families who lose employer insurance," the researchers wrote.

Making matters worse, the study found that those individuals without health insurance often skip important medical care and preventive services such as cancer screenings. Nearly 75 percent of 40-to-64-year-old women with insurance had a mammogram in the previous two years, while only 28 percent of uninsured women in that age group received a mammogram, according to the Los Angeles Times.

To learn more:
- read the Commonwealth Fund study
- read the Los Angeles Times article
- see the Wall Street Journal Health Blog article
- check out the Kaiser Health News article