American Health Insurance
In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against the costs of medical services. This usage includes private insurance and social insurance programs such as Medicare, but excludes social welfare programs such as Medicaid. In addition to medical expense insurance, it also includes insurance covering disability or long-term nursing or custodial care needs.
The US health care system relies heavily on private and not-for-profit health insurance, which is the primary source of coverage for most Americans. According to the United States Census Bureau, approximately 85% of Americans have health insurance; nearly 60% obtain it through an employer, while about 9% purchase it directly. Various government agencies provide coverage to about 28% of Americans (there is some overlap in these figures).
In 2007, there were nearly 46 million people in the US (over 15% of the population) who were without health insurance for at least part of that year. Over 1 million workers lost their health care coverage in January, February and March 2009. Approximately, 268,400 more workers lost health care coverage in March 2009 than in March 2008. Proving that today, that number is markedly higher as many workers who have lost their jobs have also lost their employer-provided health insurance. The percentage of the non-elderly population who are uninsured has been generally increasing since the year 2000. There is considerable debate in the US on the causes of and possible remedies for this level of uninsurance as well as the impact it has on the overall US health care system.