6.5M Californians Lacked Health Coverage in 2007, Census Bureau Reports
Among other states, California has the highest number of uninsured residents and the eighth highest percentage of uninsured people by population (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/30).
Massachusetts had the lowest rate of uninsured residents under age 65, at about 7.8%. Texas had the highest rate of uninsured residents at 26.8% (Sun, Washington Post, 7/28).
The findings come from the Census Bureau's Small Area Health Insurance Estimates, which collected data from every county in the U.S.
The census data show that California counties with the highest rates of uninsured residents tend to be smaller, rural communities that are more dependent on agricultural employment. The five counties with the highest rates of uninsured residents under age 65 were:
- Mono County, at 28.6%;
- Colusa County, at 26.2%;
- Monterey County, at 25.9%;
- Riverside County, at 25.9%; and
- Alpine County, at 25.6% (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/30).
The data also show that people with lower incomes were less likely to be insured. Â In addition, men were less likely than women to have insurance, according to the Census Bureau (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 7/30).
Possibly a Worsening Problem
Observers say California's current rate of uninsured residents might be higher than suggested by the 2007 census data.
The statistics do not reflect the effects of the recession, which led to higher unemployment levels and possible losses of job-based health insurance, the Chronicle reports.
Shana Alex Lavarreda -- director of health insurance studies at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research -- said the state's unemployment rate has nearly doubled from 5.5% in 2007 to its current level of more than 12% (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.