The Medically Uninsured in New Jersey

A Chartbook

There are over one million people in New Jersey without health insurance coverage. This number remains high despite multiple policy initiatives and public program expansions to address chronic lack of coverage. While New Jersey's income levels for coverage program eligibility are among the most generous in the nation, recent budget shortfalls have prevented expansion of public coverage programs and have halted some new enrollments. In order to better understand the state's uninsured, Rutgers Center for States Health Policy conducted the New Jersey Family Health Survey (NJFHS). Data were collected in 2001 using telephone interviews of 2,265 families (n= 6,466 individuals). Survey response rate was 60 percent and restricted to individuals under 65. This chartbook presents the NJFHS data and is designed to answer questions about the number of the uninsured, length of time without coverage, factors that predict lack of coverage and characteristics of the uninsured. According to the NJFHS, the number of uninsured non-elderly adults in New Jersey (855,000) is more than three times greater than the number of uninsured children (238,000). Sixty-three percent of uninsured children and 74 percent of uninsured adults have been without coverage for 12 months or longer. Uninsured rates among children vary geographically and by individual characteristics with the highest uninsured rates in densely populated urban areas of northeastern New Jersey. Children living in families with incomes below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level have a much higher uninsured rate than children in wealthier families. Ethnicity and immigration status are significant predictors of uninsured status among children. All of the differences in uninsured rates shown in this chartbook are statistically significant except the difference between boys and girls under age 19. Some results may reflect sampling error.

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