Number of Uninsured Orange County Residents Dropped 31% Since 1998, Study Finds
The number of Orange County residents without health insurance has dropped by 31% since 1998, helped by a large decrease in the number of uninsured Latino children, according to a study by the Orange County Health Needs Assessment, the Los Angeles Times reports. The assessment, a not-for-profit project funded by Orange County hospitals, health care systems and the county Health Care Agency, surveyed 5,000 households between spring 2001 and fall 2001 and compared the results to a survey it conducted in 1998. The study revealed that 240,000 adult residents, or 11.8% of the county's population, lack health coverage, and approximately 69,000 children in county are uninsured. The survey also found that 8% of children under age six lack health insurance, and 20% of households with annual incomes less than $25,000 do not have health coverage for their children. However, the number of Latino children without health insurance has dropped by 8.4% since 1998. Dr. Mark Horton, the county's public health officer, said the survey shows that the county has "made significant progress over the last three years" in reducing its number of uninsured residents. The survey also examined the county's overall health, finding that Orange County residents "are not as healthy as people elsewhere," according to the Times. The county's death rate for coronary heart disease was 228.1 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with a statewide average of 201.5 deaths; death rates for stroke were 67.7 deaths per 100,000 people in Orange County, compared with 63.3 deaths statewide; and cancer death rates were 183.7 deaths per 100,000 people in Orange County, compared with 179.8 deaths per 100,000 statewide (Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times, 5/17).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.