Health Insurance Coverage

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The existence of insurance positively influences the behavior and overall health of the individual. Persons with health insurance coverage generally seek appropriate treatment and engage in preventative care, i.e. blood pressure screening, diabetes testing, etc. Lack of health insurance is a major barrier to obtaining needed and preventative health care. Uninsured people have an increased risk of morbidity and morality from preventable diseases. The uninsured are also less likely to get preventative care and needed screenings, and in addition, significantly reduces employee productivity and increases absenteeism. In 2004, 15.5% of adult residents in King County lacked health insurance.

Contributing to the increasing numbers of the uninsured are rising insurance premiums and reduced employer participation. The wage levels in south King County, combined with the percentage of income residents have to spend on housing, has made south King County the region with the largest percentage of people having no medical insurance. Additionally, the areas New Hope will be targeting, contain some of the largest uninsured communities within the south region. In the 4 communities of interest (Seatac, Tukwila, Burien, and White Center), approximately 13,000 adults have no have health insurance.

In 2004, 12.6% of King County adults reported not getting needed medical care due to cost. In the three-year period 2000-2003, south King County became the region with the largest percentage of people not seeing a doctor due to cost. And, once again, the areas New Hope will be targeting, contain some of the communities with the largest percentage of people who did not see a doctor due to cost.

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