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June 19, 2001

Lack of Health Insurance Linked to Other Social Problems

Full Report (pdf)

There are nearly 200,000 people in the Sacramento Region without health insurance, an estimate based on survey data released this week by the Institute for Social Research at California State University, Sacramento. The survey found approximately 14.3 percent of households in the four-county region had one or more uninsured occupants.

That rate translates into an estimated 191,600 uninsured people across Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, and Yolo counties, based on current U.S. Census Bureau population counts.

The proportion of Hispanics without health insurance (20 percent) is more than twice the rate for non-Hispanics (9.5 percent). Young adult men between ages 18-30 are also more likely to be uninsured, with 19.8 percent reporting they do not have health insurance. Among women in that age bracket, 17.1 percent are without health insurance. However, only 4.5 percent of all children under age 18 are uninsured.

The lack of health insurance appears to have serious consequences for the uninsured beyond its impact on their physical health. The study, using World Health Organization measure for the quality of life, shows Sacramento Region uninsured have:

• higher depression scores;
• lower physical quality of life scores;
• lower psychological quality of life scores;
• lower social quality of life scores;
• lower environmental quality of life measures.

As might be expected, the uninsured are also less satisfied with their health and access to health services.

Other study findings show: Among racial groups, Native American households had the highest proportion of uninsured (15.0), while Asian American households had the lowest rate (4.2).

• Coverage also varies by county. The highest rate of coverage is for households in Placer County (92 percent) and lowest in Sacramento County (83.9 percent).

• Approximately 63 percent of those with health insurance said an employer or union provides their coverage.

• About 16 percent of those without health insurance say they go to hospital emergency rooms when they need health care or treatment.

Further information is available by contacting Randall MacIntosh at (916) 278-7961 or through the Public Affairs Office at (916) 2786156.

Full Report (pdf)


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