The number of uninsured Illinois residents in 2005 increased by about 2% to 1.8 million, compared with 2004, according to an analysis of U.S. Census information released Friday by the Gilead Outreach and Referral Center, the Chicago Tribune reports.
According to the analysis, between 2001 and 2005 the percentage of state residents who received state-funded health coverage increased from 9.9% to 11.2%. D uring that time span, the percentage of Illinois residents covered by employer-sponsored health insurance decreased from 74.9% to 72.8%, the report found.
The analysis also shows that an influx of immigrants contributed to the increasing number of uninsured residents. According to the report, one out of every seven uninsured Chicago residents were Hispanics who were not citizens. In addition, the analysis found that nearly 367,995 families with annual incomes greater than $50,000 included at least one person younger than 65 who was uninsured -- nearly 40% of all uninsured families. Such families might be able to afford physician visits, but they likely would find it difficult to pay for hospital care if needed, according to Vince Keenan, executive vice president of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians .
The analysis comes as Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) promotes a proposed universal health plan. The plan would not include coverage for undocumented adult immigrants, according to Blagojevich spokesperson Abby Ottenhoff (Graham, Chicago Tribune, 4/29).