Not Poor, But Not Insured, Either

Among people who don’t have employer-provided health insurance, many do without it altogether because they’re too poor to buy insurance of their own. As a Kaiser Family Foundation report makes clear, though, “large numbers of even fairly well-off people remain uninsured rather than purchase non-group coverage when they are not offered coverage at work.” (The study analyzed data collected between 2000 and 2003.)

Among people who don’t qualify for government-provided insurance and aren’t offered coverage at a job, negligible numbers of those with incomes below the poverty level bought insurance for themselves — much as one would expect, given financial realities. But they were joined in the ranks of the uninsured by many whose income is 1,000 percent of the poverty level: “Even for those earning 10 times the poverty level or more ($95,730 for an individual and $186,600 for a family), only about half of these individuals purchased coverage between 2000 and 2003.”

The figure is slightly higher for people at this income level who are self-employed (and, hence, eligible for a tax deduction for their health-insurance outlays), but still below 60 percent. In the new era of micro-targeting, couldn’t an enterprising insurance company make a profitable run at this niche?