Poor, Minorities Lagging In Health Coverage

Massachusetts communities with large poor and minority populations have substantially higher rates of uninsured adults than the state average, according to a new state report.

Health reform in Massachusetts has reduced uninsurance rates to about 3 percent statewide. But the city of Lawrence has four times that many adults without coverage. New Bedford's rate is 11 percent. Lowell, 8 percent.

Jerry O'Keefe of the state Department of Public Health, which did the study, said there could be many reasons for those higher numbers.

"It could be that there needs to be more outreach in those cities to improve the rates," said O'Keefe. "It could be that there are people who for income reasons are still not able to take advantage of the different programs that are being offered under health care reform."

He said those communities could also be home to immigrants or other people who don't meet eligibility requirements for free or subsidized health care.

This program aired on October 22, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.


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