A new U.S. Census Report, ending in 2002, shows almost 16% of Coloradoans do not have health insurance over a two year period. That's 703,500 people and 50,000 more than the last survey in 2001.
Not only is paying for the insurance a burden for people in this economy, it's also a burden for those who treat them. Community Health provides primary, dental, and other family care to nearly 36,000 people in Colorado Springs. Forty-seven percent of those people have no insurance. In August, community health registered 1,600 new uninsured clients.
Community Health and hospitals like Memorial try to cut operating costs to stay on budget. This year, Memorial Hospital estimates 24% of the people it treats have no insurance, or are under indigent care. That costs the hospital $27 million. Just last year, that number was 22%, with a cost of $20 million.
Another health care stumbling block in the Pikes Peak region is not enough doctors. Community Health reports the area is about 40 short of the number of primary care physicians it needs for the population.