March 23, 2009

Contact: Jamie Arehart (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 267-350-7699 or 717-405-2443)

PHMC Highlights Local Data, Trends for Cover the Uninsured Week and National Public Health Week

PHILADELPHIA-Since 1991, Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) has been tracking Southeastern Pennsylvania's uninsured population. Cover the Uninsured, a national awareness project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, reports 46 million Americans are uninsured-nine million of them children. As a part of Cover the Uninsured week (March 22 to 29) and Public Health Week (April 6 to 12), PHMC reveals data and trends from its 2008 Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Household Health Survey:

Overall picture for uninsured adults (ages 18-64) in SEPA:
One in 10 adults--representing 237,400 residents--is uninsured.
• Half of those currently uninsured have been so for the last six months (47.9%)
• One third (34.2%) of those currently uninsured have been so for over one year, and over half of these have been uninsured for more than two years
• Philadelphia has more than twice the prevalence of uninsured adults (15.8%) compared to Delaware (7.3%), Bucks (7%), Chester (5.8%) and Montgomery (5.4%) counties

Characteristics of uninsured adults in SEPA
• 60.7% of uninsured adults work-of these 142,400 adults, approximately 90,200 work full-time
• Young adults (ages 18-29) comprise most of our uninsured population: one in five are uninsured
• More men are uninsured than women (11.2% and 8.7%, respectively)

Ethnicity, education and income factors of uninsured adults in SEPA
• 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.
• 25% of adults who do not have a high school diploma/GED are uninsured, compared to 14.6% who have a high school degree, 10.4% with some college, 4.7% with a college degree, and 3.1% with advanced degrees
• Adults living below 200% of the federal poverty level in are over four times more likely to be uninsured than those living at or above 200% of the federal poverty level.

Uninsured children (under 18) in SEPA
Even though many programs in the nation offer health coverage for children, over nine million children are uninsured.
39,000 of SEPA children (4.2%) are uninsured, an increase of more than 50% from the year 2000 when just 2.7% of children were uninsured.
• Philadelphia has the highest proportion of uninsured children (5.1%), followed by Bucks (5.0%), Delaware (4.6%), Chester (3.5%) and Montgomery (1.8%) counties

Lack of insurance in SEPA: A critical barrier to care
How are the uninsured limited in their ability to seek health care for themselves and family members?
• No regular source of care: Having a regular source of care can improve continuity of care, ability to access care when needed, and possibly quality of care. Uninsured adults are more likely to lack a regular source of care than insured adults (37.3% compared to 8.7%, respectively)
• Past year health care visit: While the vast majority of insured adults have visited a medical provider in the previous year (85.1%), only 59.3% have accessed such a visit in the previous year
• Not receiving needed care due to cost: 43.8% of uninsured adults reported that they did not seek care due to the cost

While unemployment rates continue to rise and adults are losing health insurance coverage, Francine Axler, project director of PHMC's Community Health Data Base, is hopeful that we will see improvements in SEPA's uninsured children in the next few years. "This past February, the federally-funded State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP or CHIP) 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 SEPA Household Health Survey in 2010.

Based from its 2008 SEPA Household Health Survey, this data was collected by a randomized telephone survey of 10,000 households in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. Visit PHMC's Community Health Data Base for more information on access to health care in SEPA. For more information on Cover the Uninsured and to listen to local, personal stories about the uninsured in our region please follow this link.