Reasons for Being Uninsured Among Adults Aged 18–64 in the United States, 2019

Posted on by NCHS

Questions for Amy Cha, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Reasons for Being Uninsured Among Adults Aged 18–64 in the United States, 2019.”

Q: Why did you decide to do a report on this topic?

AC: In 2019, 14.5% of adults aged 18–64 were uninsured in the United States. Individuals without health insurance experience barriers to health care such as not having a usual source of care and postponing or forgoing care due to cost, which may lead to negative health outcomes. Therefore, in this report we evaluated the characteristics of uninsured adults aged 18–64 in 2019 and the percentage among uninsured adults who identified with six reasons for being currently uninsured.

Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you from this report?

AC: We were surprised that the percentage of adults who were uninsured due to cost was higher among women and adults in fair or poor health. The percentage who were uninsured due to cost increased with age from 66.8% among those aged 18–29 to 80.9% among those 50─64.

Q: How did you obtain this data for this report?

AC: The data for this report came from the 2019 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Sample Adult component. NHIS is a nationally representative, household survey of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population. In 2019, the NHIS questionnaire was redesigned to better meet the needs of data users. The data is publicly available on the NHIS website ( with detailed data documentation.

Q: Is there any trend data for this report? If so, where can I find this data?

AC: We do not have any trend data for this report. With the NHIS redesign, questions concerning the reasons for being uninsured were asked in a different manner than in previous surveys and therefore are not comparable.

Q: What is the take home message for this report?

AC: Among uninsured adults aged 18–64, the most common reason for being currently uninsured was because they perceived that they could not afford the cost of coverage, followed by not being eligible, not wanting coverage, the process of signing up was too difficult or confusing, could not find a plan that meets their needs, and they signed up for coverage, but the plan has not started yet.

Posted on by NCHS
Page last reviewed: September 30, 2020
Page last updated: September 30, 2020