Berry Friesen’s post on the PA Health Access Network blog goes into much more detail, so please take a look. As he notes, a new report from Families USA, called “Americans at Risk”, shows that 2,845,000 Pennsylvanians under age 65 were uninsured for all or part of 2007-2008. Most of the uninsured (75.6%) were employed. Among the uninsured in Pennsylvania were 48% of all families who earn below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, or around $44,000 per year for a family of four.
While we know that the number of uninsured in the US has been rising at an alarming rate, it is important to note that Pennsylvania has been hit especially hard. Between 2000 and 2004, Pennsylvania experienced the largest decrease in the number of adults covered by employer-sponsored insurance in the country. And while we know that the cost of insurance has been rising rapidly, what many people have not discussed is how that increase affects people living in the rural areas of our state. According to the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania, insurance costs are roughly the same throughout the state (assuming that employers are paying for a large portion of the coverage, which is not always true). But while health insurance costs are about 6% of total expenses in counties such as Philadelphia and Montgomery, they rise to between 9% and 11% of total household costs in Fayette and Cambria counties.