More Uninsured In Bad Economy

Dec 15, 2010

Credit NC Institute of Medicine

The number of people who lack health insurance has been climbing in the wake of the economic downturn. That's according to an new analysis by the state Institute of Medicine.

Analysts used county-by-county data about race, poverty rates, unemployment and gender to calculate the updated numbers.  

Institute head Pam Silberman says kids are insured because of the State Children's Health Insurance Program and seniors get Medicare:

"Under our current system, if you are childless adult under the age of 65, you can be living on the street and you would not qualify for Medicaid unless you get disability payments. It's because of our public structure, because of the federal law basically up until now which has precluded states from covering, most poor adults."

Silberman says traditionally poor rural counties like Tyrell and Hyde show close to one in three people lacking insurance. But the greatest number of uninsured people live in urban areas. 

You can see county-by-county data (PDF) on the NC IoM website.