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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Many of the causes of heart disease can be prevented or controlled by adopting a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to get regular health screenings for your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.


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Many people struggling with obesity are denied coverage for needed treatment such as medically managed weight loss programs or bariatric surgery. Learn how you can appeal an insurance denial for treatment or become an advocate for change.

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Health Care Statistics in the United States

Health Insurance

  • The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. Source: Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
  • In 2010, the percentage of Americans without health insurance was 16.3%, or 49.9 million uninsured people. Source: US Census Bureau
  • Of the 83.7% of people with health insurance in 2010, coverage was 55.3% employment-based, 9.8% direct-purchase, and 31.0% government funded (Medicare, Medicaid, Military). (Overlap reflects coverage by more than one type of health insurance). Source: US Census Bureau
  • The primary reason given for lack of health insurance coverage in 2005 was cost (more than 50%), lost job or a change in employment (24%), Medicaid benefits stopped (10%), ineligibility for family insurance coverage due to age or leaving school (8%). Source: National Center for Health Statistics
Health Care
  • More than 40 million adults stated that they needed but did not receive one or more of these health services (medical care, prescription medicines, mental health care, dental care, or eyeglasses) in 2005 because they could not afford it. Source: National Center for Health Statistics
  • Medicaid, which accounted for 15.9% of health care coverage in 2010, is a health insurance program jointly funded by the federal and state governments to provide health care for qualifying low-income individuals. Source: US Census Bureau
  • Medicare, a federally funded health insurance program that covers the health care of most individuals 65 years of age and over and disabled persons, accounted for 14.5% of health care coverage in 2010. Source: US Census Bureau
  • Medicare operates with 3% overhead, non-profit insurance 16% overhead, and private (for-profit) insurance 26% overhead. Source: Journal of American Medicine 2007
  • Since the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created in 1997, the percentage of children ages 0-17 with health insurance has increased from 86% to 93%. Source: National Center for Health Statistics: December 2011
  • 2.5 million young adults have gained health insurance as a result of the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows them to remain on their parents insurance plans until age 26. Source: National Center for Health Statistics: December 2011

Health Care Expenditures

  • Health care expenditures in the United States were nearly $2.6 trillion in 2010, an average of $8,402 per person. Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • In 2009, national health care expenditures were paid by households 28%, private businesses 21%, state and local governments 16%, and federal government 27%. Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • 75% of all health care dollars are spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions, many of which can be prevented, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Source: Health Affairs
  • Half of health care spending is used to treat just 5% of the population. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, May 2012
  • Since 2001, employer-sponsored health coverage for family premiums has increased by 113%. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, May 2012
  • The share of the economy devoted to health care has increased from 7.2% in 1970 to 17.9% in 2009 and 2010. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, May 2012
  • The U.S. spends substantially more on health care than other developed countries. As of 2009, health spending in the U.S. was about 90% higher than in many other industrialized countries. The most likely causes are higher prices, more readily accessible technology, and greater obesity. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, May 2012

Infant Mortality

  • In 2005, the United States ranked 30th in infant mortality. Singapore has the lowest rate with 2.1 deaths per 1000 live births, while the United States has a rate of 6.9 deaths per 1000 live births. Infant mortality is considered an important indicator of the health of a nation.
    Source: CDC, NCHS Data Brief, Number 23, November 2009
  • Approximately 30,000 infants die in the United States each year. The infant mortality rate, which is the risk of death during the first year of life, is related to the underlying health of the mother, public health practices, socioeconomic conditions, and availability and use of appropriate health care for infants and pregnant women. Sources: CDC and National Center for Health Statistics, 2008
  • The main cause contributing to the high infant mortality rate in the United States is the very high percentage of preterm births. One in 8 births in the United States were born preterm, an increase of 36% since 1984. Source: CDC, NCHS Data Brief, Number 23, November 2009

Life Expectancy

  • Life expectancy at birth in the United States is an estimated 78.49 years, which ranks 50th in highest total life expectancy compared to other countries. Source: CIA Factbook (2011)
  • Lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44,789 deaths per year in the United States. Source: Harvard Medical School Study, American Journal of Public Health, December 2009
  • People without health insurance had a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance, a result of being unable to obtain necessary medical care. Source: Harvard Medical School Study, American Journal of Public Health, December 2009

Bankruptcy

  • Nearly two-thirds, or 62%, of all bankruptcy filings in the United States in 2007 were due to illness or medical bills. Source: American Journal of Medicine, June 2009
  • Among the medical bankruptcy filers in 2007, most were well-educated, owned homes, employed in middle-class occupations, and three-quarters had health insurance. Source: American Journal of Medicine, June 2009