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More middle-income workers lack health coverage, study says

NEW YORK -- The percentage of working-age Americans with moderate to middle incomes who lacked health insurance for at least part of the year rose to 41 percent in 2005, up dramatically from the 28 percent in 2001, a study released yesterday found.

More than half of the uninsured adults said they were having problems paying their medical bills or had incurred debt to cover their expenses, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a healthcare policy foundation. The study of 4,350 adults also found that people without insurance were more likely to forgo recommended health screenings such as mammograms and less likely to have a regular doctor.

The report paints a care picture for the uninsured. ''It represents an explosion of the insurance crisis into those with moderate incomes," said Sara Collins, a senior program officer at the Commonwealth Fund.

Collins said the study also illustrates how more employers are dropping coverage or offering plans that are just too expensive for many people.

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