|Issue of the Day: Poverty Income Threshold Increases|
Published Friday, February 27th, 2009
Those uninsured and working poor who are trying to qualify for public health programs have received an economic helping hand as the 2009 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines were increased to reflect the increases in the Consumer Price Index. The Current Population Survey for 2009 has raised the poverty threshold—the dollar amount the Census Bureau uses to determine poverty status—for a family of 4 to $21,203. As a result, the number of citizens who can now qualify of free or low cost government health insurance has risen.
In 2007, more than 36.5 million people, about 12.5% of the U.S. population were living in poverty. The poverty threshold for 2009 has increased by 2.8% over the 2006 and 2007 thresholds. At the same time, since 1980, the Health Care Consumer Price Index has experienced annual increases ranging from $6.2 billion to the recent 2007 $14.9 billion climb. This has resulted in the percentage of those uninsured to steadily rise to an average 15.3% of the total US population as health insurance prices rise to compensate. However, only 33% of the 47 million uninsured Americans are now eligible but are not signed up, which leaves 31.49 million without recourse to health care insurance.