About 9% of Orange County Households Uninsured, Report Finds
About 9% of Orange County households do not have health insurance, compared to more than a quarter of households without health insurance coverage in more urban areas, such as Los Angeles County, according to a report released Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The Orange County Health Needs Assessment was based on a survey of 3,380 county households. It was conducted by not-for-profit hospitals in Orange County to comply with a state law requiring not-for-profit hospitals to assess community's health care and housing needs. The law also requires the hospitals to develop programs to address residents' health care needs, the Times reports.
According to the report, residents with health care coverage still have problems receiving services. Survey respondents said that limited clinic hours, work responsibilities and transportation problems sometimes prevented them from receiving medical treatment.
The report also found that the high cost of housing in Orange County makes it more difficult for some county residents to obtain health care services. On average, a family of four with an annual income that is 250% of the federal poverty level, or about $47,125, needs to earn an additional $644 per month to pay for health insurance premiums, as well as housing, food, taxes, transportation and child care, the Times reports.
Pamela Austin, CEO of the Orange County Health Needs Assessment, said that low-income families often live in housing units that are not large enough, a situation that can contribute to health problems, including obesity and asthma.
In addition, the report estimated that 35,000 Orange County residents were homeless at some point during 2004, up 88% since 2000. About one-third of those residents have health care coverage, according to the report (Delson, Los Angeles Times, 5/4).