Kentucky Health Issues Poll: Health insurance still uncertain for two in 10 state adults age 18-64

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The latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) shows that, despite big gains in getting Kentuckians covered by health insurance, 21 percent of Kentucky adults still don’t have stable coverage.

According to the poll, 12 percent of Kentucky adults 18-64 remain uninsured and another 9 percent who currently have insurance said they had been without it sometime in the prior 12 months.

KHIP is an annual poll of Kentucky adults about health issues funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health.

After dropping from as high as 33 percent in the five years prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Kentucky, the proportion of Kentucky adults who are uninsured has been relatively stable since 2014.

“Health insurance is still an iffy proposition for more than one in five Kentucky adults who are 18 to 64 years old,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “While the ACA has ensured coverage for over 355,000 Kentuckians from 2014 through 2015, there’s still a significant number of Kentucky adults who can’t rely on getting routine preventive and wellness care, let alone effective treatment for chronic conditions, because they can’t rely on insurance to cover the cost.”

The poll also showed that, after a one-year spike in 2015, the proportion of Kentucky adults who said they had some form of public health insurance was back to 29 percent in 2016, the same as in 2014.

Public health insurance for adults includes Medicare, Medicaid, military benefits and combinations of the three sources. In the years prior to ACA implementation, the proportion of Kentucky adults with public insurance has been as low as 11 percent in 2008 to as high as 27 percent in 2012.

The percentage covered by employer plans has bounced around with no clear pattern, from a high of 55 percent in 2008 to a low of 37 percent in 2012. The latest KHIP found that 45 percent of Kentucky adults were covered by employer plans in 2016, and 13 percent reported other types of coverage with 6 percent reporting purchasing their own plan.

Under the ACA, young adults can be included on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26; of adults 18-26 queried for KHIP, 24 percent said they were covered on a parent’s plan.

Chandler said: “As the Commonwealth moves forward to transform Medicaid, the Foundation is working to help policymakers understand who has health insurance coverage and who doesn’t. KHIP is one piece of the Foundation’s ongoing work to help sustain the gains Kentucky has made while identifying gaps we still need to fill.”

A copy of the poll is available here.

From Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Communications

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