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

Lack of Health Insurance Has Consequences for Children
Friday. January 7, 2005

PHILADELPHIA, PA, January 7, 2005 — Routine medical visits, preventative care, and acute care for injuries and illnesses are critical to providing children with a healthy start in life.  However, uninsured children often do not have access to quality medical care due to the cost.

A recent survey conducted by the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), a nonprofit public health agency, showed that more than 44,000 children, or 4.7% of all children under the age of 18, in the region are currently without health insurance.

According to PHMC’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, children without insurance are less likely to have a regular source of care. One out of four uninsured children in the region do not have a regular source of care (24.8%), compared to only 4.4% of insured children. Uninsured children are less likely than insured children to have been to a doctor in the past year and to receive other types of care. For instance, 23% of uninsured children did not receive dental care due to the cost, as compared to 5.1% of insured children, and, 15.3% of uninsured children did not receive eyeglasses due to the cost, as compared to 2.3% of insured children in the region.

Nationally, nine out of ten uninsured children are from families with working parents. For many of these uninsured children, health insurance is available through a government program called the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. Parents can call 1-800-986-KIDS (5437) to find out if their children are eligible for the program.

The 2004 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey was conducted by PHMC’s Community Health Data Base project in the summer of 2004, including more than 10,000 telephone interviews in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The Community Health Data Base is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation, The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and a variety of participating agencies from the health, government, nonprofit, and academic sectors. PHMC is a non-profit, public health organization committed to improving the health of the community through outreach, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services.