Southwestern U.S. Has Highest Rate of Uninsured, Study Finds
The Southwest region has the highest rate of uninsured residents nationwide, with 30% of adults younger than age 65 and 18% of children in that region without health insurance, according to a study released on Wednesday by CDC, AP/USA Today reports.
For the study, the first to compare the health insurance status of residents in different regions of the U.S., CDC researchers led by Robin Cohen examined a national in-person household survey of more than 106,000 U.S. families conducted from 2004 through 2006. The study included data for the 41 states that had at least 1,000 residents who responded to the survey.
According to the study, 17% of all non-elderly U.S. residents lacked health insurance at the time of the survey. The study also found that:
- 11% of non-elderly adults and less than 4% of children in the New England region lacked health insurance;
- 14% to 15% of non-elderly adults and 6% to 7% of children in each of the Great Plains, Great Lakes and Northeast regions lacked health insurance;
- 23% of non-elderly adults in the Southeast region lacked health insurance; and
- 12% of children in the Rocky Mountain region lacked health insurance.
Among individual states, Oklahoma had the highest rate of non-elderly adults and children without health insurance at more than 33%, and Hawaii and Massachusetts had the lowest rate at 9.5%, the study found (Stobbe, AP/USA Today, 6/25).
Overall, about 16.2% of California's population was uninsured at the time of the survey.
Among Californians ages 18 to 64, 22.2% were uninsured, while 8% of children were uninsured (Cohen et al., "Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2007," CDC/National Center for Health Statistics, 6/25).
Ken Thorpe, a health policy researcher at Emory University, said that the recently enacted Massachusetts health insurance law might expand the gap between regions such as New England and the Southwest. He added, "There are substantial inequities in coverage depending where you live, and they seem to be getting worse" (Stobbe, AP/USA Today, 6/25).