Many Utah County residents uninsured

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    By Beverly Beal

    Many residents around Provo and the rest of Utah County are medically uninsured or underinsured.

    In the 1996 Utah Health Status Survey, 9.67 percent of Utah County residents did not have any health care insurance.

    This adds up to about 34,000 people that are not covered, said Scott McKay, a medical services coordinator.

    “The leading factors of being uninsured is that you don’t have enough money to pay for it, so a lot of families will drop their insurance to be able to feed their kids,” he said. “They just can’t afford it.”

    According to the 1990 census data, 13 percent of Utah County lived under the established poverty level.

    To help resolve this lack of health care and funding, Community Health Connect, a local funding partners’ initiative, was created to benefit under-insured and uninsured families, individuals with affective disorders, and minority populations.

    Michelle Lingenfelter, program director of CHC, said its mission is to increase healthcare access to the residents of Utah County.

    “CHC aims to be the ‘broker’ of health care, matching the medically uninsured and under-served with those people and programs that will provide a way to receive the best care possible,” McKay said.

    Community Health Connect is establishing a volunteer network of health care professionals who will donate their time to care for the patients who qualify for the program, he said.

    Offered in Spanish and English, Community Health Connects’ web site provides information about local and national health care and social service agencies. Links to prescription drug facts, health care topics, and insurance information can be found on the Web site.

    “We want to remove the barriers to health care, so that anybody that needs it can receive health care,” said Maranda Shaw, community development coordinator for CHC.

    To find more information about Community Health Connect, contact their office at (801) 818-3015 or at www.communityhealthconnect.org.

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