Health insurance and mortality in U.S. adults


October 15, 2009

A 2009 study by the Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance, “Health Insurance and Mortality in U.S. Adults,” looks at the relationship between having health insurance and death rates. The study used data from the CDC’s third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  The survey was conducted between 1988 and 1994 and involved more than 33,000 people.

The Harvard/Cambridge study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, took the NHANES data and excluded those older than 64, nonelderly Medicare recipients, and persons covered by Medicaid or military insurance. Adjustments were made for factors such as exercise, weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption. The study determines that:

  • 45,000 deaths annually in the United States are associated with a lack of health insurance.
  • Those without insurance have a 40% higher risk of death.

Tags: employment, medicine, nutrition


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Citation: Wilper, Andrew P.; et al. "Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults", American Journal of Public Health December, 2009, Vol. 99, No. 12, 2289-2295.