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Editor's Correspondence
November 28, 2005

Differential Loss to Follow-up by Insurance Status in the Health and Retirement Study: Implications for National Estimates on Health Insurance Coverage

Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(21):2537-2538. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.21.2537-b

We read with interest the article by Baker and Sudano1 titled “Health Insurance Coverage During the Years Preceding Medicare Eligibility.” The combination of lacking health insurance and the benefits from affordability of medical care that come with health insurance are greatest in the years preceding Medicare eligibility. Baker and Sudano1 estimated the percentage of uninsured individuals as the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) cohort aged over time. They found that the percentage uninsured respondents aged 51 to 57 years in the baseline wave dropped from 14.3% in 1992 to 8.2% in 2000. We used the Current Population Survey’s (CPS) Annual Demographic Survey, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of 50 000 households conducted by the Bureau of the Census, to estimate the percentage uninsured for the same age cohorts and found it to be stable between 1992 and 2000 (Table).