Study: 28% of LA County residents under 64 without health insurance in 2009

A health policy study released today revealed that more than one-fourth of Los Angeles County residents under age 64 lived without health insurance for all or part of 2009.

According to the study released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, 28.9 percent of county residents under 64 had no insurance for all or some of the year, slightly higher than the statewide figure of 24.3 percent.

The report found that only 43.3 percent of county residents had job-based health insurance for all of 2009, compared to 50.1 percent statewide.

In Orange County, 23.3 percent of residents under 64 were uninsured for all or part of last year, while 55 percent had job-based coverage, the report found.

Los Angeles County had the largest total number of uninsured residents at 2.7 million.

According to the study, the number of Californians without health insurance increased in every county, while 37 counties had uninsured rates above the state average. Researchers attributed the increase to the rise in unemployment -- and its accompanying drop in incomes and job-based health
coverage.

Researchers noted that the major elements of the recently adopted federal health care legislation will not take effect until 2014, including federal subsidies for purchasing insurance through a state-based exchange and an expansion of Medi-Cal.

"Health care reform is several years away, but families are dealing with health problems right now,'' said lead researcher Shana Alex Laverreda. "Every effort should be made to help families in need even sooner than 2014.''

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