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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Prescription Drugs and Dental Care Remain Uncovered for Many with Health Insurance
Monday. March 15, 2004

PHILADELPHIA, PA, March 2004 —The Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), a nonprofit public health agency, found that more than one out of ten insured adults (12.4%) lacks coverage for prescription medications and more than one-quarter (27.8%) of insured adults do not have dental care coverage.

According to PHMC’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, the number of insured adults without coverage for prescriptions is over 330,000 in the five county region. An even larger number of insured adults – more than 740,000 -- lack dental coverage. The survey also revealed the following variations in health insurance coverage among adults.

  • More than 20 percent of insured adults 65 and older, do not have prescription coverage (23.9%), and more than 60 percent do not have dental coverage (60.2%). Compared to insured adults in younger age groups, those over 65 are two or more times as likely to lack coverage for prescription drugs or dental care.
  • The poor are almost twice as likely to lack prescription coverage compared to the non-poor (20.3% and 11.6%, respectively). The poor are also more likely to lack dental coverage (34.2%) compared to the non-poor (27.1%).
  • One out of five insured Asian adults (20.8%) do not have prescription coverage followed by Latino (15.4%), black (13.5%) and white (11.6%) adults.

More than 10,000 households participated in the survey, which was conducted by telephone in the summer of 2002 in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. The next survey will be conducted in 2004. PHMC is a United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania member agency. Additional Survey findings are located online at