New Study: Health Insurance Coverage in the Delaware Valley

Posted by on March 30, 2009

Study: 1 in 10 in region have no health insurance

One in ten adults and close to five percent of children in southeastern Pennsylvania are uninsured, according to data released week by the Public Health Management Corporation.   As part of Cover the Uninsured Week and Public Health Week, PHMC revealed some alarming trends noted in its 2008 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey:
— The number of uninsured SEPA children increased more than 50% from 2000.
—  One third of uninsured residents have been so for over one year and more than half of these have been uninsured for more than two years
— Philadelphia has more than twice the prevalence of uninsured adults (15.8%) than Delaware (7.3%), Bucks (7%), Chester (5.8%) and Montgomery (5.4%) counties.
— More than six in ten uninsured adults work—of these 142,400 adults, approximately two thirds work full-time
— Latinos (29.8%) are more than twice as likely to be uninsured than African Americans (14.5% ) and Asians (14.5%), and nearly five times more likely to be uninsured than whites.

Lack of insurance has been found to be a critical barrier to care in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Uninsured adults are far less likely to have a regular source of care than those with insurance (37.3% compared to 8.7 percent respectively).  Consequently, they tend to have decreased continuity of care, less ability to access care and lower quality of care.   Moreover, the uninsured are less likely to seek care when they need it.  In the past year, 43.8% of uninsured adults reported they did not seek care due to cost.

Although, unemployment rates continue to rise and adults are losing health insurance coverage, Francine Axler, project director of PHMC’s Community Health Data Base, believes we may see improvements in the region’s coverage of uninsured children in the next few years. “This past February, the federally-funded Children’s Health Insurance Program was reauthorized and expanded and may serve to decrease the proportion of children in the region who have no insurance,” she says. PHMC’s Community Health Data Base will track this possible improvement when conducting the next Household Health Survey in 2010.

For more information on access to health care in southeastern Pennsylvania, go here.

For more information on Cover the Uninsured and to listen to local, personal stories about the uninsured in our region, click here.

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