Report Says 16 Percent of Arkansans are Uninsured

APRIL 26, 2006 - Posted at 7:46 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new report says that, because more than 448,000 Arkansans lack health insurance, they aren't as likely to be healthy as those who have such coverage.

The report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says that those with no health insurance are less likely than insured people to receive health care when needed, and that includes precautionary care.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive officer of the foundation, says that when women with insurance are in their 40s, they start getting mammograms regularly.  But Livizzo-Mourey said that, for people without health coverage, it's a different world.

The report says Arkansas ranks 44th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia with 37 percent of uninsured people unable to get medicare care when needed.

But Max Hauer, a spokeswoman for Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, said that many people are uninsured by choice.  She also noted that many state or federally-funded programs help low-income residents obtain insurance at a discounted price.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)