Friday, September 16, 2011

Last year, 17.4 percent of Kentuckians lived in poverty and 17.5 percent did not have health insurance

More than one in six Kentuckians lived in poverty last year and almost exactly the same number didn't have health insurance, preliminary U.S. Census numbers show.

The state's poverty rate was 17.4 percent and the uninsured rate was 17.5 percent. Nationwide, 15.1 percent of Americans lived in poverty and 16.3 percent were without health insurance in 2010, reports Valarie Honeycutt Spears of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

To be considered to be living below the poverty line, a family of four must earn less than $22,314 each year.

About 640,000 Kentuckians do not have health insurance. Those numbers have risen as employers have stopped offering coverage to employees, said Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. In 2000, 65 percent of Kentuckians had employer-based insurance, but in 2010 only 57 percent did.

Medicaid, which provides coverage for the country's poor and disabled, covered almost 1 in 5 Kentuckians in 2010, up from 1 in 10 in 2000, Bailey said. "The percent of children covered by Medicaid in Kentucky rose 6 percentage points since 2007-08, to 40 percent, keeping the number of uninsured children low," Spears reports. (Read more)

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