Uninsured in Alabama
A press release on those with no health insurance in Alabama.
For more information:
Rosemary Blackmon, VP Public Relations
Alabama Hospital Association, (800) 489-2542
One-third of Non-Elderly Alabamians Uninsured
Nearly one-third of Alabamians under the age of 65 did not have health insurance at some point during the last two years, with more than 75 percent of them going without insurance for more than six months. This information, compiled for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was released this week at a Montgomery news conference hosted by several statewide organizations as a part of national “Cover the Uninsured Week.”
The event was held outside the emergency department at Baptist Medical Center South to emphasize the fact that the emergency department is often the only access point for the uninsured. “If people don’t have insurance, it means they may not go to the doctor,” said Frank Harris, chairman-elect of the Alabama Hospital Association. “It means many of them will end up right here at the hospital emergency room with chronic conditions that could have been better controlled or crisis conditions that could have been avoided altogether. What we’re trying to do by participating in the “Cover the Uninsured Week” is heighten the public’s awareness of the need for health insurance and encourage those eligible for public programs to sign up.”
“More than 50 percent of those who were found to be uninsured in the national study had incomes of less than $15,000 for a family of three,” said Cary Kuhlman, executive director of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. “Approximately 70 percent of them were employed. And, while the likelihood of being uninsured was greater among 18 to 24 year olds, the vast majority of the uninsured identified in the study were middle-aged.”
Alabama is hoping to get some very specific information on its uninsured in the next few weeks courtesy of a federal grant acquired by the Alabama Department of Public Health. According to State Health Officer Don Williamson, M.D., the grant is funding an extensive research effort that will allow the state to better understand its uninsured population, even to the point of being able to review the information in 12 geographic areas of the state. “It’s difficult to structure your public programs and outreach efforts without knowing your target,” said Dr. Williamson. “This project will show us who the uninsured are, where they live, if they work, their income levels and what some of the barriers are to their enrollment in insurance programs.”
“Cover the Uninsured Week” is a national effort funded primarily by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, along with support from more than 60 health organizations and public agencies nationwide. For more information, go to www.covertheuninsuredweek.org.