About 48 million Americans were uninsured at one point or another during 2011, says a report by the Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey of US Adults.
A nonprofit organization headquartered in New York, the Commonwealth Fund said that 26% of Americans had a hole in their health insurance coverage in 2011.
This was reported by wfmz.com.
Losses or changes in jobs, either on the part of the individual or his or her spouse, were driving factors in many cases.
'It's a difficult place to find an affordable plan, and it's also a difficult place to comparison-shop,' said Sara Collins, vice president for the Affordable Health Insurance Program at The Commonwealth Fund. 'There just isn't a lot of information tools to help people in their search for a plan.'
The survey included 2,100 adults in the United States ages 19 to 64.
Of those who reported a gap in health insurance, 69% said they did not have insurance for a year or longer, and 57% went two or more years without coverage.
The survey found that nearly half who tried to get coverage over the past three years did not end up buying a plan on the individual market. The majority of them, 62%, said the premiums were too expensive.
It proved difficult to compare benefits that different plans offer for 60% of respondents who tried to purchase a plan. And almost one-third of participants said insurance plans turned them down, raised prices or excluded a condition because of a pre-existing condition.
Participants also appeared less likely to have a regular doctor and get preventative tests such as blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring if they had a gap in health insurance.
The Commonwealth Fund had said in a report last year that about 9 million people who lost a job with health benefits in 2008 to 2010 became uninsured, indicating that employment is tied to health coverage for many Americans.