||April 7, 2009
Dave Lemmon, Director of Communications
Bob Meissner, Deputy Director of Communications
Bryan Fisher, Press Secretary
New Report Finds 497,000 West Virginians Were Uninsured at Some Point in 2007-2008
32.2 Percent of West Virginia’s Non-Elderly Residents Were Uninsured for One Month or More in 2007-2008
Washington, D.C.—Approximately 497,000 West Virginians—32.2 percent of residents under age 65—were uninsured at some point in time during 2007-2008, according to a report released today by the health consumer organization Families USA. In fact, 362,000 of those uninsured West Virginians, 72.8 percent of the total, were uninsured for six months or more during that time.
The situation is a reflection of what is nationwide. Approximately 86.7 million Americans—one out of three people (33.1 percent) under 65 years of age—were uninsured at some point during 2007-2008. The Families USA report is an essential supplement to commonly-used Census Bureau data, such as the 45.7 million people deemed to be uninsured for the entire 2007 calendar year.
“The huge number of people without health coverage in West Virginia is worse than an epidemic,” said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. “At this point, almost everyone in the country has had a family member, neighbor, or friend who was uninsured—and that’s why meaningful health care reform can no longer be kept on the back burner.”
The Families USA report reveals additional important demographic information about uninsured individuals in West Virginia:
- Nearly three-quarters of West Virginia’s uninsured, or 71.9 percent, were in working families, working full- or part-time.
- Just under one-half, or 47.9 percent, of those individuals and families in West Virginia with incomes below twice the poverty level—$42,400 of annual income for a family of four in 2008—went without health insurance at some point in 2007-2008.
- In addition, almost one in four, or 23.5 percent, of those individuals and families in West Virginia with incomes at or above twice the poverty level—$42,400 of annual income for a family of four in 2008—went without health insurance at some point in 2007-2008.
“These startling numbers clearly document the seriousness of the problem and demonstrate what happens when a problem is ignored for too long,” Pollack said. “It’s important to note, however, that Congress and the President have already begun to address this serious issue by extending health care coverage to 4 million more children.
“The actions of Congress and the President were an important down payment on health care reform, and they offer the promise that all Americans will one day have access to high-quality, affordable health care.”
The Families USA report was based on data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation, as well as the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey used by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. The data were compiled with the assistance of The Lewin Group, a distinguished health policy and data consulting firm.
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan and advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
1201 New York Avenue NW, Suite 1100 · Washington, DC 20005
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