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More Pennsylvanians Are Without Insurance and Health Care, Insurance Department Survey Shows
Date:1/29/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The commonwealth's latest statewide survey on uninsured rates shows that more than one million Pennsylvanians lack health insurance coverage -- an increase from a similar study in 2004, Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario said today.

"Overall, the study showed that increases in uninsured numbers were seen in almost every category; including adults, children, certain ethnic groups and most geographic areas," Ario said. "Adults are more likely than children to be uninsured, and this shows up in the fast-growing waiting list for our adultBasic program, which provides subsidized health coverage to adults who have been uninsured for at least six months.

"The waiting list stands at more than 183,000 individuals this week and is projected to grow to 282,000 by the end of June," said Ario. "This compares to a projected enrollment of more than 41,000; meaning that the waiting list may soon be seven times the number of enrollments unless the General Assembly addresses the problem. Some people have been on the waiting list since November of 2006.

"Coverage through private health insurance dropped from 66 percent covered in 2004 to 62 percent in 2008. Some of this decline was made up by an increase from 14 to 18 percent in Pennsylvania residents who have health insurance through a state-sponsored program.

"While this survey was conducted before the recession became evident, even at that time, more than 75 percent of the uninsured ranked cost as the main reason for not having health insurance. Also, those without insurance are not accessing the routine care necessary to prevent or address health conditions before they become bigger problems.

"Additionally, the uninsured are a diverse population. Most uninsured adults are working, but either are not offered insurance or cannot afford the insurance that is offered to them. O
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance
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