Health Team

Study: N.C. Men Lacking Health Insurance

Posted January 24, 2007

— A new report shows a lack of health insurance is a growing problem in North Carolina.

As part of a national grant called FirstHealth Community Voices funded by the Kellogg Foundation, researchers analyzed federal and North Carolina health data from 1999 to 2005 for the North Carolina Men's Health Report Card. The results compared state health statistics to the national average.

They found men in North Carolina die at a higher rate, than the national average, from some of the top 10 causes of death, including heart disease, prostate and lung cancers, stroke, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.

Most of the diseases might be prevented if men received proper health care through early screening and follow-up treatment.

One reason many men do not is because they have to pay for it out-of-pocket. They need health insurance to help cover the cost. The report scores North Carolina with Ds and Fs in that area, according to Roxanne Leopper with FirstHealth of the Carolinas, one of eight sites across the nation with the national grant project.

Nationally, 20.6 percent of men had no health insurance. In North Carolina, 25 percent of men did not have health insurance. For black men in the state, more than 30 percent of men lack health insurance.

If men don't have it, often, neither do their families, experts say.

"If you're not employed at a company that provides health insurance, then it's really a challenge for men to get coverage," said Dr. William Alexander with the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

He was the keynote speaker Monday at the North Carolina Men's Health Summit in Chapel Hill, where the results of the report were announced.

Alexander wants men to become better stewards of their own health. One trend in the report shows more men are getting screened for diseases such as prostate cancer, but the death rate in North Carolina doesn't reflect it.

"So, the data is showing something there and showing that men are getting some of the screenings, but maybe they're not taking the action or maybe the screenings are coming too late," Leopper said. "Or maybe, some men can't afford the treatment after screening."

FirstHealth Community Voices and health advocates at the North Carolina Men's Health Summit hope the report will spur policy changes to make health care more accessible and health insurance more affordable.

They also hope to make men more aware about what they can do to prevent serious illness.

Just by not smoking, men and women can greatly reduce their risk for lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic lower respiratory disease. Following recommended screening for colon cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer can cut their risk for those major killers as well.

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  • Sandtiger Jan 29, 2007

    Health insurance isn't something only the educated get. Life is very chaotic and circumstances change. Health care is extremely expensive even WITH insurance. But gets even more expensive when you have to pay for insurance coverage on your own. As we move towards a more mobile workforce your going to find less and less employers willing to help shoulder the insurance bill. ESPECIALLY if our POTUS gets his way and they make health insurance taxable.

  • tarheelras Jan 28, 2007

    "Health care is a right." I agree and that is why hospitals cannot turn you away because of ability to pay.

    However, the article is not about having health care. It is about having health insurance - there is a difference. You may have a right to health care but you do not have a right to make someone else pay for it.

  • PlayingTHEAngles Jan 28, 2007

    I am one of them that do not have insurance. I lost mine beacuse i did not take 12 hours, long story short version, i had a lacrosse scholarship taken away from me becuase the docs say i can't play anymore, so my name gets taken off my parents insurace but i cant go back to school bc i do not have the money. so yea i can see why some dont carry insurance

  • builder276 Jan 27, 2007

    yes mortgage the house.

  • builder276 Jan 27, 2007

    well, maybe they should have gotten a better eductaion so that they would have gotten a job that provides insurance.

  • r-n-r Jan 27, 2007

    Health insurance costs are ridiculous! It is over 100 dollars a week where I work for the family plan!

  • katgoesloco Jan 26, 2007

    Wealthy people who are employed by huge corporations get excellent health insurance, paid by huge tax breaks to big businesses. Congress and the president get excellent health insurance for the rest of their lives, paid by our tax money. But people who work for small businesses and people who are self-employed get NO health insurance.

    This is totally unfair.

    We need national health insurance in this country that covers everybody. Health care is a right.

  • WXYZ Jan 26, 2007

    My suggestions:

    (1) Tax Deduction: every penny spent for insurance, medications, treatments, assistive devices etc should be fully tax deductible. STOP the 7.5% exclusion!
    (2) Non-Profit: ALL hospitals and health insurance companies should be not-for-profit. These companies should not sell stock. Except for licensed health care professionals (they are doing the work), it is immoral for anyone to profit from or exploit for profit, treatment of the sick, injured or disabled.
    (3) Health Insurance: ALL health insurance should be of the Indemnity type. STOP HMO's. No insurance company should be allowed to pick and choose their policy holders. Neither should they deny a policy or coverage of any condition to anyone. Neither should insurance companies be allowed to pick and choose which hospitals and health care professionals are allowed to treat their policy holders. The state alone should decide who get and keeps a license to practice a health care profession.

  • bosoxbaby Jan 25, 2007

    I'm not a single parent but I do cover my husband and my son. I am also a licensed insurance agent and I agree that health coverage is ridiculous. I pay $150 every two weeks for their coverage and mine and that's with a $500 deductible. There has to be a better way of getting good coverage (not just so so coverage) without having to mortgage your home to get it.

  • lishaxlisha Jan 25, 2007

    Yes indeed, I pay $56.00 every two weeks for health insurance and my job pays $232.00. I think it's ridiculous. I am a single parent and thank god my daughters father have her on his insurance because if i had to have her on my insurance I would be messed up.