Compiled by Lois Bloebaum BSN, MPA
Women without health insurance are less likely than those with coverage to receive preventive healthcare services at appropriate ages. Receipt of preventive healthcare services such as prenatal care, mammograms and PAP screenings are correlated with improved outcomes and decreased morbidity and mortality; and yet the percentage of Utah women with insurance coverage to pay for these preventive healthcare services is declining.
How Are We Doing? (Utah Data Versus the U.S.)
Over the past ten years, the percentage of persons in Utah and in the U.S. who lacked insurance coverage has increased. United Health Foundation’s (UHF) America’s Health, State Health Rankings 2005 report ranks Utah 23rd among states for percentage of residents with health insurance.1 According to the 2005 Utah Health Status Survey (HSS) 14.8% of adult Utah women are uninsured, a 37% increase since 2001 (10.8%).
Lack of insurance coverage may be affecting Utah women’s compliance with recommended preventive health screenings; only 69.1% of women (age 40 & over) received a mammogram in the past two years and only 80.1% of women received a pap smear in the past three years according to Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data compared to 75.9% and 86.4% respectively across the nation as a whole.
Another women’s preventive healthcare service that may be affected by lack of insurance coverage is early entry into prenatal care for pregnant women. According to Utah PRAMS (Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System) data, over 20% of Utah women entered prenatal care after the first trimester and the most commonly cited reason was “I didn’t have insurance or enough money to pay for care”. The Healthy People 2010 goal for early entry into prenatal care is set at 90%, a benchmark that Utah has yet to reach.
The 2005 Utah HSS data indicate that the characteristics of Utah women who are more likely to be uninsured include:
- Lower education levels
- Lower socioeconomic levels
- Being unmarried
- Being of Hispanic ethnicity
- Being unemployed and/or a student
What is Being Done to Address?
The Utah Department of Health administers programs to improve insurance coverage, such as Medicaid, the Baby Your Baby program, the Primary Care Network (PCN), and the new program “Utah’s Premium Partnership” (UPP), a program designed to help make health insurance more affordable for working individuals and families.
The UDOH, through its Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, also has recently awarded thirty-six health care agencies $1.4 million in grants to increase their capacity to provide primary health care to medically underserved individuals not eligible for CHIP, Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance or the Primary Care Network. The Utah Department of Health administers programs to improve insurance coverage, such as Medicaid, the Baby Your Baby program, the Primary Care Network (PCN), and the new program “Utah’s Premium Partnership” (UPP), a program designed to help make health insurance more affordable for working individuals and families.