Nearly one in four Tulsa and Oklahoma City residents younger than 65 had no health insurance coverage last year, according to Census estimates. The uninsured rate in Tulsa was 24.5 percent, while in Oklahoma City it was 23.1 percent. Statewide, about 22 percent of Oklahomans younger than 65 had no health insurance from either private or government sources. The figures come from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which for the first time last year asked respondents about their health insurance status. The latest release covers geographic areas with more than 65,000 people. Nationally, about 17 percent of the population younger than 65 had no health insurance coverage last year, according to survey estimates. That translates into about 44.5 million people. Texas had the highest rate of residents under 65 with no coverage at 26.5 percent. Next was Florida, followed by New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma. Just 4.6 percent of Massachusetts residents did not have health insurance. About 2.4 million Oklahomans younger than 65 had some type of health insurance coverage in 2008. But more than 687,000 people in that age group were not covered by any insurance plan, according to Census estimates. Government-funded Medicare covers most adults older than 65. Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland said there is broad consensus among medical, business and insurance industries that reducing the ranks of uninsured will lower costs. But figuring out the details is what’s roiling Washington. Holland said insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions and mandating coverage for what she calls the "bulletproof generation” of adults between 19 and 32 are a few of the options with broad support. "People need coverage. But we need to spread the risks to reduce the costs for everybody else,” she said. "My personal opinion is that states are in the best position to make those decisions.”Comments
Survey highlights at a glance →Oklahoma was the only state to show employment increases in construction, energy and maintenance and repair occupations from 2007 to 2008. The state gained about 15,000 jobs in those industries in 2008. →Median property values in Oklahoma fell 1.4 percent in 2008 from the prior year. The median property value across the state was $105,500 in 2008.
• Household incomes dipped slightly in 2008. Oklahoma households had a median income of $42,822, down from $43,005 in 2007. The U.S. median is $52,029. →About 80 percent of Oklahoma employees drove alone to their workplaces last year, exceeding the national rate of 75.5 percent.
Oklahoman's without health insurance Percent of cities’ population under 65 years of age without health insurance: →Tulsa: 24.54 →Oklahoma City: 23.11 →Lawton: 18.44 →Norman: 16.13 →Edmond: 13.17 →Broken Arrow: 12.06 Source: 2008 American Community Survery