There is a desperate need to help uninsured Americans. The number of uninsured in the U.S. is staggering – currently, there are nearly 44 million Americans without health insurance. People with mental illness are at a particular risk of being uninsured because of unstable employment and they may have trouble securing private insurance because of high medical costs due to their illness. Furthermore, a lack of insurance can lead to or exacerbate mental health conditions. Without insurance, it is difficult for people to access necessary medical and mental health care, and conditions may worsen significantly as a result.
The uninsured population in America includes people of all races and ages. In fact, a lack of health insurance is one of the biggest barriers that people of color face. Minorities are uninsured in the U.S. at unacceptable rates - Latinos 37%, African Americans 25%, Asian Americans 21%, American Indians 20%. Also, included in the 44 million Americans without health insurance are 8.5 million children.
NAMI is proud to be a national sponsor of Cover the Uninsured Week, which is from May 10-16, and is a week dedicated to bringing attention to the plight of the uninsured. Furthermore, throughout the week, more than 1,000 events will be held in communities across the country, including health and enrollment fairs for uninsured Americans and health coverage seminars for small business owners. For details about Cover the Uninsured Week and a listing of events in your area, please visit www.covertheuninsuredweek.org.
For further information on how a lack of health insurance affects people with mental illnesses specifically, click here to read a NAMI Policy Research Institute fact sheet on the topic. (pdf 228kb)