Health Coverage for the Poor Feeling Optimistic

a full shelf of medical recordsThe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation frequently sends news updates on the subject of Health Policy from major journals, news publications and blogs. The following is an excerpt from an important update on lack of insurance coverage for the poor.

Nowhere To Go But Up For The Poor Lacking Insurance, Says Study

By Jordan Rau
February 7, 2012, 6:00 AM

In anticipation of the expansion of health insurance that will start in 2014 under the federal health care law, the Commonwealth Fund has begun tracking coverage of low-income Americans. The first of the surveys reconfirms what’s already well-known: the poor are starting from a pretty bad place in terms of coverage. A few examples:

• A third of low-income Americans (under 133 percent of poverty, or $29,726 for a family of four) have lacked insurance for at least two years–10 times the rate of higher earners (over 400 percent of poverty, or $89,400 for a family of four).

• Half of those with incomes under 2 ½ times poverty ($55,875 for a family of four) lacked a regular source of care.

• Half of people under 133 percent of poverty ($29,726 for a family of four) have used the emergency room to get a prescription written.

• Just one out of 10 low-income adults over age 50 who lack insurance had been screened for colon cancer, as recommended. Half of those in the same income range with health coverage had gotten the screening.

• Only 32 percent of low-income women without insurance between ages 40 and 64 had received a mammogram, compared to 66 percent of low-income women with coverage.

Read the full article here