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Uninsured Rates Highest In Texas

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, October 10, 2008 12:49 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Protecting Your Family, Medical Care, Health Care System, Medical Debt, Uninsured, Health Reform, National Health Care Plan


IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockphoto / medical solutions / author: gmutlu

A newly released report from the U.S. Census Bureau provides estimates of the uninsured population in the United States, providing a breakdown by county, state and demographic groups.

The Census Bureau’s Small Area Health Insurance Estimates division used 2005 data across all states including age, gender and income for the report.

16 percent of U.S. residents were uninsured in 2005, lacking health insurance, according to the report.

Nationally, Hawaii and Minnesota had the lowest uninsured rates in 2005 with 9.5 percent and 9.7 percent respectively, followed by Wisconsin with 10.3 percent and Iowa with 10.4 percent.

The report also found Florida, New Mexico and Texas had the three highest rates of uninsured residents under 65.

Additionally, the report found that states have wide variance in racial/ethnic groups.

In Texas, 40.5 percent of Hispanics under 65 lacked health care coverage, compared with 24.3 percent of blacks and 15.8 percent of whites.

Nearly 40 percent of Hispanics in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Carolina were all uninsured.

“This issue is not about people not working, but rather working families not being able to afford health care coverage,” Rea Panares of the health care advocacy group Families USA tells WebMD. “Nearly 80 percent of those who have no health insurance coverage do have a full time worker in the family.”

State by State Health Insurance

Texas had the greatest percentage of uninsured residents under 65, with 26.3% of the population having no insurance coverage, followed by New Mexico with 24.2% and Florida with 24.0%.

African-Americans residing in Florida were more likely residents of other state to have no insurance with 26.7% lacking coverage. About one in four African-Americans residing in Louisiana and Mississippi also lacked coverage.

Oklahoma had the most uninsured white residents at 18.2%.

2007 Stats

A separate report by the bureau including 2007 figures found nominal increases in health insurance coverage among children, Hispanics and whites.

The report, published in August, found the amount of uninsured children decreased from 8.7 million in 2006 to 8.1 million during 2007.

The rise is likely due to the increase in people covered by public programs. Given the economic downturn, the rates of Americans without insurance will likely continue to increase unless public coverage programs expand, says Alwyn Cassill of the Center for Studying Health Care System Change.

Another recent report new report by the Commonwealth Fund found an estimated 72 million adults in the United States are having problems paying their medical bills, forcing them to make tough financial choices.

The uninsured; American’s in debt struggling to pay medical bills… Should Americans have access to health care like many other countries, or should there be a different standard for those who are able to pay and/or have insurance through an employer’s plan? #

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