Poll finds 24 percent of Oklahomans without health insurance

Sunday, October 19th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

About one-quarter of Oklahomans who participated in a new poll say they don't have health insurance.

Twenty-four percent of the 750 adults surveyed statewide for the Oklahoma Poll said they didn't have health insurance.

The survey, which was sponsored by the Tulsa World, was taken Sept. 22-30 by Consumer Logic with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Seventy-six percent of the respondents said they had health insurance coverage.

Al Soltow, executive director of research for the University of Tulsa, said 2002 census figures showed 15 percent of Americans were without health insurance.

Soltow said a breakdown of the poll indicated that Tulsans were more likely to be without health insurance than residents in the rest of the state.

Thirty-two percent of Tulsans surveyed said they lack coverage, compared to 20 percent in Oklahoma City and 22 percent in the rest of the state.

Twenty-five percent of the men polled and 22 percent of the women said they lacked coverage.

Respondents under age 35 and those making less than $25,000 annually are much more affected than those older and with higher incomes, Soltow said.

Forty-one percent of those earning $25,000 or less said they had no health insurance, while 9 percent of those in the $50,000-and-up category said they didn't have coverage.

Sixty-one percent of the Oklahomans with insurance surveyed said their insurance is through a private plan offered to employees, essentially the same percentage in the 2002 U.S. Census count, Soltow said.

Forty-five percent of the $15,000-and-under income bracket said they are on Medicare, Soltow said.

That would suggest "that there is a whole lot of elderly in this state with income of less than $15,000 on Medicare," Soltow said.

Almost 11 percent of those polled said they or a member of their family have been refused coverage in the past year by a provider for a specific condition or problem.

Eight percent of those surveyed statewide said they or a member of their family had been dropped by a health insurance plan.

Those most likely to have been dropped were in the $25,000-or-less annual income category.

Sixty-five percent of those polled said the government should guarantee health insurance for all of its citizens, including 55 percent of those who consider themselves to be conservative, Soltow said.

Three-fourths of the Oklahomans surveyed said they would consider ordering prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies if they could save 30 percent to 40 percent on the cost.