Holes in the System

Access to quality, affordable healthcare is essential to improve and maintain overall community health. But the economic downturn coupled with rising unemployment means that fewer Orange County residents can afford adequate medical care.

People with health insurance are more likely to seek routine medical care, take preventive measures and experience greater overall health as a result. But for many Orange County residents, visiting a doctor is something they just can’t afford.

1 in 6 Orange County residents is uninsured, limiting access to quality healthcare, 1 in 6 ANOTHER is underinsured, Resulting in 2 in 6 OC residents unable to get the care they need.
Source: Orange County 2012 Community Indicators, Community Health and Prosperity, Health Insurance Coverage: One in Six Residents Are Uninsured, page 42.
By the Numbers: 25% of children and 30% of adults don’t have dental or vision care.
Source: Health Care Access and Utilization: O.C. Children (Ages 0-17), Orange County Health Needs Assessment Survey: Special Report, 2009, pages 22, 25
Source: Health Care Access and Utilization: O.C. Adults (18+), Orange County Health Needs Assessment Survey: Special Report, 2009, pages 30, 34. Print.

One in six Orange County residents is uninsured, and another one in six has insufficient coverage. These numbers include children and the elderly, two particularly vulnerable populations in need of regular medical care.

People without full insurance coverage often defer medical care, leading to more serious ailments. And most uninsured individuals—many of whom are unemployed—are not financially prepared to handle a catastrophic illness.

An additional 30 percent of adults and 25 percent of children in Orange County lack specialty coverage like dental and vision care, decreasing the incidence of regular check-ups and preventive screenings. Medi-Cal and Healthy Families assist many underinsured families, but more than 400,000 uninsured county residents do not qualify for either program.

This epidemic of underinsurance is worsened by a lack of community health resources in Orange County, resulting in emergency rooms that are increasingly used for non-urgent issues—an inefficient and costly solution that leads to overcrowding and overburdening of the system, not to mention poor long-term health outcomes for our community’s most vulnerable residents.